Jean Bodin on Oeconomics and Politics

History of European Ideas 40 (2):1-20 (2014)

Challenging the common conception of Jean Bodin as an ‘anti-Aristotelian’ thinker, this article places Bodin's political thought in the context of oeconomics—the science, or art of the household—as it had developed in medieval and Renaissance commentaries on Aristotle's practical philosophy. The article argues that he thereby took part in a longstanding discussion in European political thought which saw the household as possessing a political dimension. Bodin's thought on the family is central to both his universal claims pertaining to his notion of the political and his more particular interest in sovereignty and the origins of absolutism. The article explores Bodin's analysis of the household as the starting point of his inquiry into the nature of a commonwealth and the foundation of his conception of the state; it examines the relationship of la police and l'oeconomie in detail, and argues that the conjugal relationship is the determinant for Bodin's conception of absolute rule and of the origins of supreme power
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DOI 10.1080/01916599.2013.796163
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