Sandro Landi

The multitude’s two bodies. Back to a key concept of Machiavellian criticism

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: multitude, people, populism, operaism, Machiavelli, Thomas Aquinas, Pomponazzi, crowd psychology

This article focuses on the «multitude», a key term today in Machiavelli’s operaistic and populist interpretations. Through the study of the lexicon of authors belonging to the Aristotelian and Thomistic tradition, this article highlights the substantial ambiguity of this term and collective subject. The analysis that Machiavelli devotes in particular to the multitude as a «loose» component of the political body, reveals significant analogies with the contemporary reflection of Pietro Pomponazzi (De incantationibus). From a social science history perspective, the hypothesis developed is that the discovery of the psychic dimension of the multitude at the beginning of the 16th century constitutes an epistemic turning point that makes it possible to rethink the chronology of the crowd as an object of study and government.

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