Journal for Cultural Research 9 (4):405-420 (2005)

Vicky Roupa
Open University (UK)
This paper revisits an often‐neglected text by Jean‐Luc Nancy, The Jurisdiction of the Hegelian Monarch (1982), which discusses Hegel’s famously controversial defence of constitutional monarchy in his Philosophy of Right. Hegel’s insistence on placing at the top of the state edifice a “sheer body”, whose sole function would be to validate decisions already taken by the civil administration by appending his signature or saying “I will”, was read by his contemporaries as a concession to Prussian absolutism. Furthermore, hereditary accession to the throne was felt to make birth the defining quality of the monarch, thus placing undue emphasis on the monarch’s body in a way that did not seem consistent with Hegel’s understanding of politics as the unfolding of reason in history. This paper argues that Nancy’s contribution transforms the terms of the debate by suggesting that the real interest of Hegel’s theory of the monarch lies not in the biographical details of its author, but rather in what that theory reveals about the “essence of the political as such”. Through an analysis of the twin motifs of “decision” and “jurisdiction”, the Hegelian monarch is shown to be allied to a thinking of politics as effectuation, as the making effective of an essence, which could itself be nothing political, such as “the true Good”, or “the ethical Idea”. The final part of the paper explores the implications of this notion both for Hegel’s philosophy of spirit and for a politics that organises itself around the concepts of “people” and “nation”.
Keywords Jean-Luc Nancy  Hegel, G.W.F.  Political Philosophy  Hegel's Philosophy of Right
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DOI 10.1080/14797580500252613
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References found in this work BETA

Phenomenology of Spirit.G. W. F. Hegel & A. V. Miller - 1977 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 10 (4):268-271.
Pathmarks.Frederick A. Olafson - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (2):299-302.
Early Theological Writings.Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, T. M. Knox & Richard Kroner - 1950 - Philosophical Review 59 (2):253-254.

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