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Threats of Force

June 1, 2019

The state is a one-off invention. Its function, as Hobbes noticed early on, is to tame threats of violence by exerting threats of force. Everybody fearing the violence of all others makes everybody accepting the force applied by one, therefore being called sovereign. The form this function gets is the threat.

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Contribution to Interdisciplinary Workshop “Reverence and Deference: Kinship and Patronage in Early and Modern Societies”, Witten/Herdecke University and Free University Berlin, February 5–6, 2019

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