Wallstein Verlag

Ute Frevert

Emotional Politics

Friedrich II as a Governor of Hearts?

152 pages, 12,5 x 21,0 cm
ISBN: 978-3-8353-1008-7 (Januar 2012)


German Version

This is not a regular Jubilee Biography: Ute Frevert investigates the politics of Friedrich II – with no personality cult, no nostalgia

A king should reign with love, not with fear and forced obedience. This was determined by the (early) modern theory of state. Friedrich II of Prussia (1712 – 1786)

realised that it was not enough to rule over the bodies of his subjects. It was also imperative to win over their hearts.
However, historiography reports that Friedrich the Great’s behaviour towards his subjects was neither mild nor gentle. Ute Frevert analyses Friedrich’s understanding of government and his emotional political practices. She shows what methods the enlightened, absolutist king used to seek the agreement and affection of those who were under his rule. His subjects used this interest to their own ends: they placed conditions, voiced expectations and were disappointed if the king did not conform to them. Political communication has always run in two directions, not only in our modern media-dominated society. Ute Frevert discovers emotional politics going as far back as the 18th century, the essential features of which have remained valid up to the present day, still shaping the image of public discussions.
On the occasion of Friedrich the Great’s 300th birthday on 24 January, 2012: the beginnings of modern emotional politics in Benevolent Despotism.

The Authoress
Ute Frevert, born in 1954, historian; Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin; professorships at Yale University and the Universities of Bielefeld, Constance and Berlin. Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. In 1998 she received the Leibniz Prize awarded by the DFG (German Research Foundation).
Publications include: Emotions in History – Lost and Found (2011); A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription and Civil Service (2001); »Mann und Weib, und Weib und Mann«. Geschlechter-Differenzen in der Moderne (1995); Men of Honour: A Social and Cultural History of the Duel (1991).
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