, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 470-494

Sexualität und Souveränität — Neue Nachrichten vom Vor- und Nachleben des Leviathan-Frontispizes

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The article suggests that the early travel reports on America might have been an important source of inspiration for the famous frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan. Such a perspective has one central implication: Hobbes’s “state of nature” then appears to be not only a description of fundamental social, but also of fundamental sexual disorder. The “state of nature” describes a state in which sexuality is ruled by brute force. The article claims that Hobbes justifies subjection to state authority also as a measure which secures “orderly” sexual arrangements. There is a sexual contract underneath the social contract propagated by Hobbes. The article investigates the relation between sexuality and sovereignty in some of the political pictures that spring off from the picture of the Leviathan.

Ich danke Horst Bredekamp, Bodo von Greiff und Albrecht Koschorke ganz herzlich für ihre sehr hilfreichen und freundlichen Kommentare zu einer früheren Fassung dieses Aufsatzes. Dank ebenfalls für die Förderung durch das Exzellenscluster’ Kulturelle Grundlagen gesellschaftlicher Integration’ der Universität Konstanz.