A Book of the Body Politic Connecting Biology, Politics and Social Theory

(C-xii) 2020
A Book of the Body Politic Connecting Biology, Politics and Social Theory

Publisher: Cini Foundation
Language: English
Accessible on line:
ISBN 9788896445228


“Do you remember the Aesopian Fable of the Belly and the Members,
or the letter of Paul to the Corinthians about the Body and the Church,
or The Fable of the Bees by Mandeville, or the somewhat dangerous
association of pests and foreigners, or the more recent attempts to think
of the Earth as a giant organism? None of these stories stops shifting
metaphors between one domain—that of the body—and another—that of
politics. The result has been the creation of that most important concept
of Western philosophy, corpus politicum, the Body Politic. One interesting
aspect of this most famous topic is that every domain borrows from each
other the certainty associated with the other’s authority, so that political
science ends up borrowing from biology what biologists borrow from political
This constant commerce of concepts and metaphors, unfortunately, has
never guaranteed the quality of what has been ceaselessly transported
from one domain to another. The result is that we remain deprived of a
coherent definition of collective bodies. Hence the idea of attempting to
re-open the question in a Dialogue of San Giorgio by bringing the different
domains together and examine what each has really to offer to the
others that is genuinely proper to the phenomena it studies.
This book is the outcome of three days of intense confrontation among
experts of various disciplines (biology, philosophy, ecology, social theory,
anthropology, history of science, political science) aimed at finding a new
body’s description for the Body Politic.”