New Books Network: The State of Nature: Histories of an Idea

    14 October 2021

New Books in History
Edited by Mark Somos and Anne Peters, "The State of Nature: Histories of an Idea" (Brill 2022)

The phrase, “state of nature”, has been used over centuries to describe the uncultivated state of lands and animals, nudity, innocence, heaven and hell, interstate relations, and the locus of pre- and supra-political rights, such as the right to resistance, to property, to create and leave polities, and the freedom of religion, speech, and opinion, which may be reactivated or reprioritised when the polity and its laws fail.

Combining intellectual history with current concerns, Mark Somos and Anne Peters's book The State of Nature: Histories of an Idea together fourteen essays on the past, present and possible future applications of the legal fiction known as the state of nature.


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