New book: Spinoza and Hobbes on Power and Popular Politics

Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics, by Sandra Leonie Field, was released by Oxford University Press (New York) in August 2020. Promotional flyer with discount code here:

The  book draws on the political writings of Hobbes and Spinoza to establish a conceptual framework for understanding the genesis, risks, and promise of popular power. Radical democrats–whether drawing on Hobbes’ “sleeping sovereign” or on Spinoza’s “multitude”–understand popular power as moments transcending ordinary institutional politics (e.g. popular plebsites or mass movements). However, a focus on the concept of power as potentia generates a new approach to popular power, according to which its true center lies in the slow, meticulous work of organizational design and maintenance. The book makes an original contribution at the intersection of early modern philosophy and democratic theory.

Early reviews are available: Yitzhak Y. Melamed (Johns Hopkins) describes the book as ’splendid, deep, and timely’.

The author has written a blog post to explain one of the book’s themes in plain language:

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