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The Political MachineAssembling Sovereignty in the Bronze Age Caucasus$
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Adam T. Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163239

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163239.001.0001

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On the Matter of Sovereignty

On the Matter of Sovereignty

(p.59) Chapter 2 On the Matter of Sovereignty
The Political Machine

Adam T. Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter works to define an object-aware account of sovereignty, one attentive to the articulations of human bodies and assemblages (and their distinct ways of working) rather than “oriented” explicitly to the object. The goal is not to provide a review of contemporary theories of sovereignty but to examine what happened to the political in archaeology and to detail its recent resurgence within a range of studies that attend to the matter of sovereignty. The second portion of the chapter then examines the reciprocal problem—how political theory lost sight of things—and outlines the intellectual foundations for regrounding the polity in the machinery of sovereign reproduction. Thus, the chapter moves from a broad focus on the political—that borderless mass of relations defined by the operation of a power that aspires to map the contours of an ordered community—toward a more focused attention on sovereignty as a condition of political interactions, embedded in the relations of authority.

Keywords:   political sovereignty, exile, objects, political theory, political interactions, authority

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