Bona Politia

Law and order have been key-issues of all times and places, whether we are talking about ancient Rome or present-day threats of public disturbance, crime or terrorism. How can a government protect its inhabitants from such harm? Upholding social order by preventing crime and violence is arguably a key-priority of governments today, especially under the current threat of terrorist attacks. Order – or the regulation within society to secure what is believed civility – prevents chaos from erupting and protects inhabitants from harm. Social order should be understood as the mechanism of interlinked institutions, social structures, rules, customs, values and practices that help to regulate the behaviour and activities of inhabitants. It was seen as a basic necessity to organise the protection of personal property and safety in order to accomplish a good life, welfare, and strife for the common good. This normative approach of society which started around the 1500s is known as Gute Policey (Germ.); Bonne Police (Fr.), Good Police (Eng.) or Bona Politia (Lat.). This new legislative trend was characterised by announcing coercive measures to guide society (function), announced by the government and applicable to all subjects (new hierarchy) announced in a specific area (spatiality). This blog is to make researchers throughout Europe aware of each other’s research and will provide a platform to announce newly published books, upcoming conferences, seminars and summer schools (etc.) and reach an audience interested in early modern governance, institutions and normative rules (legislation).


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