An audience with … the public, the representative, the sovereign
The right of audience, in common law, is the right of a lawyer to represent a client in a court. Royalty, the Pope and some Presidents grant audiences. What does the power to grant an audience consist in? And what does it mean to demand an audience (with)? Through a reading of the way in which the vocabulary of theatre, acting and audience is involved in the generation of a theory of state by Hobbes and Rousseau, this paper looks to reopen these questions as a political resource for us to re-imagine and refigure our ways of being together. Through readings of Hobbes and Rousseau, it looks at the ways in which the performance of politics creates the public, the representative and the sovereign and the ways these figures interact. It proposes an alternative role for theatre as places of affective learning and a civic ethics of playfulness, in which the auto-institution of the state as an imagined collectivity is fully assumed.
Bernardi, Bruno (2014), La Fabrique des concepts. Paris: Editions Honoré Champion.
Butler, Judith (1998), Excitable Speech. The Politics of Performance. London: Routledge.
Diderot, Denis (1883), The Paradox of Acting. Translated by W. H. Pollock. London: Chatto and Windus.
Habermas, Jurgen (1997), Between Facts and Norms. Translated by William Rehg. London: Polity.
Hobbes, Thomas (1839), De Homine. In Thomae Hobbes malmesburiensis opera philosophica quae latine scripsit omnia, ed. William Molesworth. London: John Bohn, vol. II, pp. 1–132.
Hobbes, Thomas (1969), Elements of Law Natural and Politic, ed. Ferdinand Tonnies, London: Frank Cass.
Hobbes, Thomas (1986 ), Leviathan, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd.
Karsenti, Bruno (2012), Moise et l’idée de people. Paris: Les Editions du Cerf.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (2001), Du Contrat social. Paris: Editions Flammarion.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (2003), Lettre à d’Alembert. Paris: Editions Flammarion.
Runciman, David (2000), “Debate: What kind of Person is Hobbes’s State? A reply to Skinner”, The Journal of Political Philosophy 8 (2): 268–278.
Skinner, Quentin (1999), “Hobbes and the Purely Artificial Person of the State”, The Journal of Political Philosophy 7 (1): 1–29.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Articles published in the Philosophy and Society will be Open-Access articles distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License.