Professor Yves Winter wins APSA book prize

News

Published: 27May2019

Congratulations to Professor Yves Winter, from the Department of Political Science, who's book Machiavelli and the Orders of Violence has been awarded the 2019 Best First Book Prize from the Foundations of Political Theory organized section of the American Political Science Association.

About the book

Niccolò Machiavelli is the most prominent and notorious theorist of violence in the history of European political thought - prominent, because he is the first to candidly discuss the role of violence in politics; and notorious, because he treats violence as virtue rather than as vice. In this original interpretation, Yves Winter reconstructs Machiavelli's theory of violence and shows how it challenges moral and metaphysical ideas. Winter attributes two central theses to Machiavelli: first, violence is not a generic technology of government but a strategy that tends to correlate with inequality and class conflict; and second, violence is best understood not in terms of conventional notions of law enforcement, coercion, or the proverbial 'last resort', but as performance. Most political violence is effective not because it physically compels another agent who is thus coerced; rather, it produces political effects by appealing to an audience. As such, this book shows how in Machiavelli's world, violence is designed to be perceived, experienced, remembered, and narrated.