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JOHN LOCKE'S KINDRED POLITICS: PHANTOM FATHERHOOD, VICIOUS BROTHERS AND FRIENDLY EQUAL BRETHREN

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Abstract:

Locke's political theory centres on juridical matters of law, right, consent and legitimacy. Despite his concern to differentiate politics from family and posit a free and equal post-familial individual as political subject, this apparently abstract political theory is itself conveyed through a narrative of family. Locke rejects patriarchal absolutism that casts the king as a patriarchal father by thinking politics through alternative conceptions of father, sons and brothers. As such, Locke did not in fact help muster liberalism by instantiating a vivid public-private divide that insulated the political imagination from ideas of family.

Keywords: John Locke; Two Treatises of Government; absolutism; brother; family; father; fraternal; kinship; legitimacy; liberalism; narrative; paternal; patriarchalism; public-private; son; symbolic

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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