The Zoopolitical Imagination

Animality, Sovereignty, and the Subject


Man is by nature a political animal. In this oft quoted passage of the Politics,1 Aristotle situates his inquiry into the human “state” or “social organization”2 within the all-encompassing context of nature. In his pursuit of a “science” of politics, he finds it necessary to analyze the “compound” into its “simple elements,” its “smallest parts,” so as to identify that which is essential to the constituents, and that which emerges from the constituents as essential to the whole.3 He must cast back his thought to the “origin” and “first growth” of the state (the polis), so as to “obtain the clearest view” of his object, and so obtain a view of those laws which determine its growth and structure.4 His is a firmly teleological position:

[If] the earlier forms of society are natural, so is the state, for the state is the end of these earlier forms, and the nature of a thing is its end. For what each thing is when fully developed, we call its nature, whether we are speaking of a man, a horse, or a family. Besides, the final cause and end of a thing is the best, and to be self-sufficing is the end and the best. Hence it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal.5

The earliest “form[] of society” is the biological “union of male and female”;6 the next is the family or household, within which the “master/slave relationship” emerges;7 the next is the “village,” the union of “several families,” wherein the social form fully extends beyond the limits of biology;8 and finally, “when several villages are united in a single community, large enough to be self-sufficient or nearly, the state comes into existence.”9 Males and females produce families, which produce villages, which produce states. This is the natural growth, and the essential structure, of the social organization. The polis is fully natural, for Aristotle, and the human creature, in her best form, her full growth, naturally exists as a part within the whole of the polis, which is her end, her telos.

Teleology aside, Aristotle’s rendering of “man” as the zoon politikon has had enormous influence. A brief search through the scholarship yields research considering the question of the political animal in a wide variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, anthropology, biology, critical theory, ethics, history, international relations, and political geography. Though certain features of Aristotle’s philosophy are no longer considered credible (such as his teleological perspective), his notion of the zoon politikon has proven persistent. The politicality of the human species seems a given, essential, unanalyzable.

And yet, to cast the political as defining and natural to the human creature obscures the performative, operative function of the definition as such. As a performative definition, zoon politikon constructs an identity, a subjectivity, a position; as an operative definition, zoon politikon affords the subject so denominated a set of practices, behaviours, or gestures, which enables a specific mode of being in the world. As the scholar Kenneth Burke argues in his essay, “Definition of Man”10 (referring in turn to another of Aristotle’s works, the Poetics), a “definition so sums things up that all the properties attributed to the thing defined can be as though ‘derived’ from the definition.”11 Through an incisive chain of argumentation—the whole of which I do not have the space here to consider—Burke opens up “man” as a definition, in his definitions, exposing the figure as figure. Two points of Burke’s are especially relevant: the first, that man is “the symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal,” and that man is “rotten with perfection.”12 This is to say that the human creature, through the (mis)use of his symbols, convinced of the “principle of perfection” (as Aristotle certainly is), discovers in his “terminology” certain “implications,” which his entelechial inclination leads him to “attempt” to fulfil.13 Put otherwise, “man,” the human creature, in his very definition as such, uses his symbolic capacity to construct both the origin and end of which his finite and limited perspective is the mediating principle. This human perfectionism (just teleology by another name), Burke argues, is a “kind of “terministic compulsion” to carry out the implications of one’s terminology ... [and] to argue for the correctness of [one’s] computations, despite the ominousness of the outcome.”14 This paper intends to examine the “clutter of symbols”15 that has accrued around, or in the wake of, Aristotle’s definition, so as to reckon with the very “ominousness” of the terms presented therein.

Beginning with Aristotle, this paper will focus on his distinction of the “political animal” from the solitary, from he who, in himself, is “self-sufficient,” and therefore “must be either a beast or a god.”16 Aristotle defines the human creature in relation to that which is external to or outside of the political—namely, the monstrous and the divine. Next, this paper will consider passages from The Prince17 and the Discourses18 of Machiavelli, wherein the boundary between humans and animals—and so the logic of Aristotle’s definition—is troubled. The animal, which in Aristotle is kept outside, emerges in Machiavelli within the law itself. Then, through a focused reading of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan,19 this paper will draw out the artificiality of the social organization, an artifice which is predicated on the symbolic separation of the animal from the human, and its consequent appropriation. Lastly, this paper will turn to Jacques Derrida’s final seminar, The Beast & the Sovereign,20 setting his exegesis of La Fontaine’s retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Wolf and the Lamb, against the legend of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio, in an attempt to consider new modes of social and political being that proceed from an origin other than the division of human and animal. The violent exclusion of the “animal,” the nonhuman other, is the constitutive act out of which the polis is born, an act which, in its constant reproduction by the law, continues to provide the state with its vital energy.


As I have noted here already, it is Aristotle to whom we must trace the language of “political animals.” This is not to say, however, that Aristotle is the first to use such language, nor that it is he who caused the division between humans and animals, but only that it is he by whom the term and the division are articulated. Perhaps even more clearly, we can say that it is he whom we, from our own historical vantage, acknowledge to have articulated such a view, an articulation which we have received across time and still can access. In Aristotle’s view then, as it has been propagated through the ages, what, precisely, does he mean by the political, beyond mere sociality? What is the import of his definition?

Insofar as the state is the end or telos of the natural (i.e., biological) union between man and woman, Aristotle sees the social union as the means to self-sufficiency which, in his metaphysical scheme, is the “best.”21 What is “self-sufficing” does not depend on anything else, which means it does not have an external ground.22 Human beings, in their “natural desire to leave behind them an image of themselves” (that is, the desire for self-preservation, effected through biological reproduction, and also reproduction by way of works), are not self-sufficing.23 Social relation beyond the household is necessary for self-preservation. But Aristotle does not set the individual into a ‘state of nature’ (an idea which will be discussed later with respect to Hobbes) from which she must enter society; for Aristotle, “the whole is necessarily prior to the part,” and the individual cannot be explained otherwise.24 The individual is not self-sufficing, because the individual is not the essential form of the human being. It is the state which is given by nature; human sociality (and by extension, politicality) is an “instinct”25 that directs the human creature to its end—society—which is therefore the human creature’s “highest good.”26 The “perfect state,” then, which Aristotle hopes to determine through his study, is that which brings about what is “good and useful” to society, and to the persons by whom society is constituted.27

What does Aristotle consider to be “good and useful”? Certainly, self-sufficiency is one such good. Provision of “necessities”28 is another, which we might include with “mere life.”29 Relation, too, seems a good in itself, in that Aristotle argues that “men, even when they do not require one another’s help, desire to live together.”30 Beyond these simpler, or more basic goods, however, Aristotle argues that the constituents of a state are “brought together by their common interests,”31 and this he considers to be “well-being,” the “chief end both of individuals and states.”32 This is the “purpose of the state,”33 its end, which is, therefore, the end of its members. The end of the state is the “good life”:

[A] state exists for the sake of a good life, and not for the sake of life only: if life only were the object, slaves and brute animals might form a state, but they cannot, for they have no share in happiness or in a life of free choice. Nor does a state exist for the sake of alliance and security from injustice, nor yet for the sake of exchange and commercial relations ... Nor does one state take care to ensure the moral character of citizens of the other, nor see that those who come under the terms of the treaty do no wrong or wickedness at all, but only that they do no injustice to one another ... This implies that virtue must be the care of a state which is truly so called ... [A] state is not a mere society ... [but] a community of families and aggregations of families in well-being, for the sake of a perfect and self-sufficient life ... [F]amily connections, brotherhoods, common sacrifices, [and] amusements ... draw men together. But these are created by friendship, for the will to live together is friendship. The end of the state is the good life, and these are the means towards it.34

The good, and the good life, is, for Aristotle, to be happy and to be free. As such, the state “is a community of free men,”35 because only the ‘free man’ can fully participate in the self-sufficient community of the state, and therefore only the ‘free man’ can truly have happiness and freedom. All others, all else, are accessories to the ‘free man’s’ freedom. This is a problematically circular justification of a particular social order, some further logic of which must be drawn out for us to engage in a critique.

Though the state is a “whole,” it is not simple—the “state is composite.” Indeed, “like any other whole,” the state is “made up of many parts,” which are, for the most part, human beings.36 But, as we have just seen, the state proper is a “community of free men,” and the rest are mere accessories, or “instruments” in Aristotle’s terminology.37 In the social hierarchy, women, children, and slaves are little better than animals or inanimate tools. All of such, though to varying degrees, are ordered to the end of the ‘free man’s’ freedom. They are not self-sufficient, because they cannot participate in the activity of state, but only in the activity of the household and the family. Only the free man can be a citizen:

[The citizen] shares in the administration of justice, and in the holding of office ... He who has the power to take part in the deliberative or judicial administration of any state is said by us to be a citizen of that state; and, speaking generally, a state is a body of citizens large enough to be self-sufficient.38

Again, Aristotle’s argument is circular: the citizen administers justice, and one who administers justice is a citizen; the state is a self-sufficing body of citizens, and one who participates in the self-sufficing of a state is a citizen. Aristotle presumes to define citizenship according to the precepts of nature, but in asserting the priority of the state, he makes a post-hoc justification of his present circumstances, which he then idealizes into a law. His citizenship is tautologically self-affirming.

The fallacious reasoning does not stop here. The “nature of a state is to be a plurality”39—that is, to be constituted by a number of different individuals—but because the state is also the “highest good” of the human creature, there must be a principle of order that unites the citizens of the state, insofar as the goods of citizenship extend beyond or are “higher” than the goods of the family or household. There must be a “common object” or a “common business” that unites citizens in a work beyond that of self- or familial preservation.40 The principle and object in question is justice; it is the “bond of men in states,” which again, to clarify, is the bond of free men with one another as citizens.41 Justice is the principle by which “man,” defined as free, happy, and self-sufficing, sets aside his personal desires, or “partial justice,” so as to attain to the good of the whole, and therefore “absolute justice.”42 This absolute justice is an ideal that transcends the particularities of the plural or composite state, uniting a specific portion of the plurality in the pursuit of what has been deemed the “good” of all. The state as whole and “prior” is authorized by those by whom it is ruled, asserting that it is “necessary” and “advantageous” for those other particular beings, who lack the freedom to participate in governance (which, circularly, gives freedom to its select participants), to “be ruled.”43 Those “who should rule are those who are able to rule best,”44 Aristotle asserts, but such ‘shoulds’ and ‘bests’ are circularly determined and entirely artificial. Aristotle claims that politics and law cannot be compared with arts such as medicine, gymnastic, or the crafts, and indeed, that the “analogy of the arts is false.”45 He wants to afford a lasting and authoritative power to the law and to the political domain that is higher than artifice or technique. But his definitions of politics, of governance, of citizenship, and of rule, depend on an arbitrary division of the plurality of society that shores up the authority of those who are permitted to participate in politics by excluding all others, simply because they do not participate in politics. It is an arbitrary, circular, and post-hoc argument, justified by a mythology of what Aristotle considers to be natural.

Recent research makes clear the artificiality of this distinction. The political is the domain of the ‘free man,’ the citizen; all others are excluded because they are not fit, by nature, to participate in the rule of the polis. Essential for Aristotle is “speech,” over “mere voice,” because speech allows citizens to determine what is “just” and “unjust,”46 and because justice is the “bond of men in states,” deliberation through speech is a vital function of the socio-political order. As Cheryl Abbate argues, however, justice is not so dependent on speech—that is, human speech—as Aristotle supposes.47 She and other writers have noted “an acceptance of the continuity between humans and nonhuman animals” in Aristotle’s biological works (such as the History of Animals),48 which considers the human creature to be “more” political than other animals, but not the “only” political animal.49 With reference to the corpus of recent research of animal behaviour, and citing the work of Bekoff and Peirce specifically,50 Abbate argues that justice cannot be so easily restricted to the human animal. Numerous animals exhibit “prosocial behaviour,” and several complex animal species exhibit an awareness of “[r]ight or good behaviour ... that conforms to the codes of conduct within [their] communit[ies].”51 Not only this, certain animal species have evidenced a concept of “special justice,” which is to say, a capacity for circumstantial judgment, that would seem to indicate that, despite their “inability to speak our language,” such species have lives with “complex emotional, social, and moral aspects” that cannot be discounted.52

If, then, there is in fact a continuity between human and nonhuman animals, and the sharp division of such on the basis of speech, justice, or other traditionally human characteristics, is not as sharp as some might like, it would seem that Aristotle’s concept of the political cannot hold. Timothy Beardsley argues53 that the exclusion of animals from political considerations evidences an untenable understanding of society and social participation, which we have already seen excludes not only animals, but all those who do not fit the label of “free man.” Christopher Berry54 finds strong evidence for an evolutionary continuity between humans and animals—particularly, between humans and our closest phylogenetic relatives, chimpanzees—that would seem to preclude human uniqueness in the domain of politics, and Gintis, van Schaik, and Boehm55 present strong anthropological and evolutionary evidence for human political behaviour as historically contingent and emergent, which is to say, not natural in the sense of originary, as the term is employed by Aristotle. Kersty Hobson56 identifies the ideological force of such divisions of origin, and the way by which those who are excluded by these divisions are made “objects of resource struggles,” their participation in society as actors obscured and denied.57 Similarly, Krithika Srinivasan58 points out the reduction of “[n]onhuman life-forms, [and] animals in particular” to “things” or “material,” rendering real social agents mere objects of use.59 Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson60 critique the linkage of “linguistic agency and political membership” that “runs deep in Western political thought,” arguing that the same logic by which animals are excluded from the political is used to exclude children, the cognitively disabled, and those others considered to be lacking in “linguistic agency.”61 In short, Aristotle’s definition of the “citizen” and the “political” is infected with the very “terministic compulsion” that Burke critiques, producing artificially naturalized justifications of society that bring about undesirable and harmful ends. It is this terminology which Machiavelli, in his inversion of the natural order, effectively deconstructs, revealing the essentially violent and apolitical roots of such a social system.


Aristotle asserts that humans are prone to “judge erroneously ... speaking of a limited and partial justice, but imagin[ing] themselves to be speaking of absolute justice.”62 Few thinkers illustrate this point more clearly than Machiavelli, who puts Aristotle’s own limitation and partiality into stark relief. Indeed, respecting the human-animal distinction, which I have been considering here, Machiavelli is well aware of the historical, and so contingent, quality of the divide. As I argued above, Aristotle’s definition of “man” as the “political animal” is performative (establishing a place and a position) and operative (elaborating a set of behaviours and gestures) and can in no way be seen as natural or originary. The ‘originariness’ of human politicality is entirely beside the point. Such political nature cannot be afforded ontological status, because in the articulation of the human creature as political, the human creature as human (or as creature, it should be noted), specific senses of the human and the political are being put into practice and into relation with each other.

In Machiavelli, we see precisely this putting into practice, this articulation, of the human as political, the human and the political, the human in the political. To make the existential claim that the human is political is unnecessary, because political being entails actions and ideologies, none of which Machiavelli considers an “absolute” law. Machiavelli, we might say, is a proto-empiricist. In The Prince, for instance, he tells his readers that he “confin[es] [him]self more to the particular,”63 and throughout the text we see this to be true. His methodology is by case study, examining the lives of “great men,”64 considering their successes and failures with a keen, dispassionate eye. It is not insignificant that the other of his large works, the Discourses, is a commentary on Livy’s history of Rome and the lives of the great men by whom it was ruled. What is more, in the Discourses Machiavelli remarks that “human affairs” are “in a state of perpetual movement,”65 and that the successful ruler will “suit[] [his] conduct to the times.”66 No absolute or universal law will assist the prince, the statesmen, or even the ordinary person, because, as Aristotle himself asserts, “man” is constantly prone to erroneous judgment, especially regarding his own case. And as Machiavelli asserts, quoting Livy, “Fortune thus blinds the minds of men when she does not wish them to resist her power.”67 There are circumstances, “accidents and occurrences,” Machiavelli writes, “against which it seems to be the will of Heaven that we should not have provided.”68 Aristotle’s presumption to knowledge and to the law of reason is simple foolishness, and his teleology absurd. For Machiavelli, there is no evidence that the state is any sort of culmination, any manifestation of the “best” or the “highest good,” as Aristotle would have it. For instance, Cesare Borgia, whom Machiavelli sees as a paragon of rule in a world of “perpetual movement” and “accidents,” had “such boldness and ability and knew so well how men are to be won or lost, and had laid down such firm foundations in so short a time,” and yet he came to ruin in the end.69 Had he “not had those armies on his back,” Machiavelli writes, “or if he had been in good health, he would have overcome all difficulties.”70 But Borgia could not account for his sickness, nor for the death of his father Pope Alexander VI, nor for the animosity of his father’s successor, Pope Julius II, whom Borgia helped elect—these were contingencies, “accidents,” beyond the scope of his rational ability.

Yet, there is a difference in Machiavelli’s casting of Cesare Borgia’s life from the typical framework employed by Aristotle, a difference which will open this excursus to a return to the subject of the animal. Though the political domain of “human affairs” is subject to constant change, and though fortune would seem to undermine the efforts of political actors, in Machiavelli there is still space for real action, for agency, that is not dictated by the laws of nature. Put otherwise, in Machiavelli the “analogy of the arts” is true. The political is artificial; politics is an art—it is a skill, an ability, or a technique that is superadded to the physical laws of nature, in excess of whatever circularities or rhythms of history and time that may or may not exist. In the Discourses, in the same section in which he quotes Livy on the nature of fate, he asserts that “Fortune, when she wishes to effect some great result ... select[s] for her instrument a man of such spirit and ability that he will recognize the opportunity which is afford him.”71 Just as ‘fortune’ is without direction (i.e., ateleological), battering the human creature with “accidents” and “occurrences,” the political actor is similarly free, undetermined by end or fate, and thus able to act according to “opportunity.” Fortune is purposeless—it is a “raging river[],” overflowing its banks in every which way, against which the prepared individual can “make provisions.”72 For Machiavelli, “fortune,” which is, effectively, chance, “manages only half our actions, and still allows us to direct the other half (or perhaps a little less).”73 The “proud indolence which prevails in most of the Christian states” is repugnant to Machiavelli, because it presupposes a certainty regarding laws and ends which is unobtainable. It is for the human creature, the political actor, to act: “you must do the rest. God does not want to do everything—that would take away our free will and our share of the glory.74” As such, Machiavelli can argue that Cesare Borgia “could not have conducted himself otherwise or achieved greater results”—he made provision against the torrent of chance better than most any other man, for which he is laudable, a worthy example for Machiavelli’s study of the particular.75

How, then, is one to act? More specifically, how is one to act in the realm of the political? Or to frame the question another way, what is the political, and the behaviour(s) of the “political animal,” in Machiavelli’s view? The popular conception of Machiavelli’s thought is that he advocates immorality and brutality. As Asli Calkivik argues,76 especially in disciplines like international relations, “Machiavelli’s political language” is “wedded to an instrumental ontology of violence.”77 His philosophy is often given an “a priori liberal framing that takes as its departure point the bifurcation of violence into legitimate and illegitimate, public and private forms,”78 which entirely misses the highly symbolic, and consequently affective dimension of his thought. As I have already claimed, Machiavelli is not attempting to establish political laws—a “flat ontology” or “positivist account[]” of the political, as Calkivik phrases it79—but is seeking to consider the position of the human as actor within an ever shifting field of contingency. Indeed, given the chaos of his historical circumstances, which Greg Russel thoroughly discusses,80 Machiavelli does not presume to any knowledge of “universal imperial or spiritual power,” nor even to the thought that such a power might exist—his is a writing of “accident” and “opportunity” as much as are the actions of the exemplars he considers.81

So, again, what is the political for Machiavelli? Put simply, the political is a matter of “good laws and good armies.”82 These are the means by which a ruler can “mould” the “material” of “opportunity” given him by fortune into the “form” which he sees most conducive to his aims.83 Narrowing his perspective, Machiavelli continues to argue that, “since there cannot be good laws where there are no good armies, where they [sic] are good armies there must be good laws.”84 After several chapters of analysis respecting “different types of troops and mercenaries,”85 “auxiliary, mixed, and citizen soldiers,”86 the “art of war,”87 and “cruelty and mercy,”88 among other topics—which is to say, analysis of the particulars of violent conflict—Machiavelli, in chapter eighteen, “Concerning the way in which princes should keep their word,” nuances the concept of violence in a profound way. He writes:

Everyone knows how praiseworthy it is for a prince to act in good faith—to be honest and keep his word, and to live with integrity and not with deceit. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to cunningly manipulate men’s minds. In the end they have overcome those who have relied on their word.89

As Calkivik argues, the question of legitimacy and illegitimacy is irrelevant to Machiavelli. Violence, in The Prince, is not qualified by its justice or injustice. Rather, following Calkivik, violence in Machiavelli functions as an “origin of meaning” in the “constitution of politics” and the “production of political subjectivities.”90 Violence and the political—which includes the definition of man as political, and therefore, as well, the performative and operative functions of the definition as such—are “immanently connected in the creation and maintenance of political community.”91 Against positivist and instrumentalist readings of this union, Calkivik contends that violence is not justified if it is directed toward the creation and maintenance of the state, but that violence precedes the state entirely, including the distinctions of lawful and unlawful, just and unjust. The political is established through violence—or rather, through a violence, a violence that establishes the political as a unique domain of human experience.

In the same section of The Prince, Machiavelli continues: “You must know there are two ways of fighting—one by the law, the other by force. The first method is appropriate for men, the second for beasts. But because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is often necessary to have recourse to the second. Therefore, it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man.”92 The way of force—of violence—Machiavelli equates with the way of beasts, and it is this “method” of the political that he considers to be most effective. To be clear, however, Machiavelli is not advocating barbarity or cruelty, or violence for violence’s sake. In the next paragraph he writes that a “prince who has to act knowingly as a beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion. The lion cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Those who rely simply on the lion lack understanding.”93 The way of force, the way of the beast, is strategic, an appropriation of the beastly to the end of power. The prince must know and understand when to be cunning and when to be vicious; furthermore, the prince must “know how to disguise this characteristic well, and to be a great pretender and dissembler.”94 Law, the way of man, is only useful insofar as it obscures the prince’s animality. Aristotle’s distinction is upended. The man who behaves as a man is the poorer politician; it is he who acts as the animal that will be successful.

But again, one must be careful not to reduce the complexity of Machiavelli’s thought. The successful ruler knows to act as the fox or lion, depending on the situation—note the articulatory as, the performative and operative function—but this should not be read as mere imitation. Another passage will illustrate the point:

This has been figuratively taught to princes by ancient writers, who describe how Achilles and many other princes of old were given to the Centaur Chiron to nurse. The centaur brought them up in his discipline; just as they had for a teacher one who was half beast and half man, so it is necessary for a prince to know how to make use of both natures. A prince who has one without the other does not last.95

The knowing prince does not simply see and mimic the fox or the lion, but acknowledges his own dual nature, the artificial division of his person into animal and human, the cutting out from the beast the shape of a man. The centaur figures back to the prince his own chimeric nature, a strangle reflection of the prince’s duplicity, his double-self, which is obscured by the definitions and laws of human society. The prince, in fact, is far from unique—the law itself, the domain of the political, and the rules of free men and citizens and states, are violently duplicitous distinctions that allow for the violence of the state, and the exclusionary practices of its constituents, to be justified. Thus, Calkivik can argue that the political and its establishment is a “theatrics of power,” a “signifying practice,” a “shared ruse.” 96 The political is born out of the continuously shifting, continuously constructed “origin” of the human. The human has always already been articulated, is always already being articulated. Machiavelli’s violence is no positive or instrumental application of force, but a “discursive” process,97 a constant excision and inscription of meaning. Violence is not meaningless, not a means to an end, but the very “moment” of the political, the “constitution of the political as an esthetic space,” and a “sign” through which political actors perform and operate their political agency.98

Whether Machiavelli supports or critiques the violence which he examines is beyond the scope of this paper, but in his clear-eyed realism the symbolic function of violence comes to the fore. Political violence (or the violence of the political), emerges from the symbolic division of the human from animal, and the consequent reappropriation of the “animal” to the end of political power. Simultaneously, the animal functions as an outside to the political, a zone of exclusion that gives the political form, and to which the apolitical—that is, those deemed unfit for or unwelcome in the political—are relegated and made instruments, objects and matter to be managed, ruled, and consumed. The political obeys no universal law: it is a historically rooted and contingently motivated practice of power, which draws its energy from the divisions it effects. In short, the political is an art of violence.


The artifice of politics, and the violence of such, is a key feature of Thomas Hobbes’s political philosophy. Indeed, he begins his Leviathan with a thorough deconstruction of “nature,” inverting the art-nature dialect and collapsing it in on itself:

Nature (the art whereby God has made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal. For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principle part within, why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as dos [sic] a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but so many strings; and the joints, but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by the Artificer? Art goes yet further, imitating that rational and most excellent work of nature, man. For by art is created that great Leviathan called a Commonwealth, or State (in Latin, Civitas), which is but an artificial man [...].99

The first part of Leviathan, Of Man, considers the “matter” of this “artificial man,” and its “artificer,” both of which are, as the section title indicates, “man,” the human creature.100 There is no universal law of nature in Hobbes, no dictating fate or fortune. Humans are free to do as they will—which is, for Hobbes, to follow their “desires” and “passions.”101 The political realm—the commonwealth, for Hobbes—that humans establish is therefore a site for the meeting of numerous competing and intersecting forces—desire, will, physical processes, etc.—mutually shaping and conditioning each other.

Scholars have shown this conflation or reciprocal interpolation of nature and artifice to be Hobbes’s unique application and transformation of the science of his day. Like Machiavelli, Hobbes is a realist, and empirically inclined. Nature evidences no guiding reason or law, no telos. He, too, looks to the particular. Leonie Ansems de Vries and Jorg Spieker discuss Hobbes’s use of movement and its centrality to his thought.102 Hobbes applies Galileo’s scientific discoveries to the realm of politics, specifically the “unification of motion and rest”:103

For Aristotle, movement is limited and finite: change has a definite beginning and end, or telos, its completion, at which point movement will cease and a natural state of rest returns. [...] This account of motion remains firmly entrenched until the dawn of the modern era. [...] Rather than moving from means to end, from beginning to destination, at which point a natural state of rest would recur, Galileo argues that a body, once set in motion, continues to move along a straight line ad infinitum unless deflected by an outside force. Movement has lost its telos, its fulfilment. Moreover, the distinction between movement and rest has lost its relevance and is replaced by that between movement and acceleration.104

Given the findings of the physical sciences, Hobbes simply cannot accept the Aristotelian paradigm, which had already been deeply unsettled by Machiavelli some hundred years prior to Leviathan. As De Vries and Spieker argue, the “state, for Hobbes, rather than a natural development and place, constitutes an artificial construct produced through the mechanical infinity of motion.”105 The human being functions according to these mechanics, both actor and artificer. But Hobbes does not presume to think the human being special, or unique from the animals against which he defines himself. The human is simply a more complex machine. Furthermore, De Vries and Spieker also discuss the influence of William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood on Hobbes, which transposes the external movement of things—the world, humans, politics—into the very body of the human person.106 Rodolfo Garau, along the same lines of thought, considers Hobbes’s physiology, as it pertains to the new science of movement, and the implications of such for his political and philosophical views.107 Hobbes’s “mechanistic schema” considers the heart as both center and process of circulation,108 and as can be seen in Leviathan, the “sovereignty” plays a roughly congruent role in the “artificial man” of the state: the sovereign is “an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body.”109 In other words, Hobbes’s understanding of the physical world—under the influence of Galileo and Harvey—as well as his first-hand experience of the chaotic forces of the political world in his own day, leads him to an understanding of the concept of “nature” that directly contravenes that of Aristotle.

Katie Chenoweth, in a study that parallels the works of Machiavelli and Hobbes, but is focused on the growth of the French state in the sixteenth century, sees the apparatus or automata of the state as emerging out of a specific set of historical conditions, which make the classical definition of such untenable.110 The sovereign, Hobbes’s “artificial soul,” becomes a “figure of the state as technics and machinery.”111 Hobbes proposes counter-definitions of man and state to those of Aristotle. As another scholar, Caleb Basnett, argues, in Aristotle the distinction between human and animal is not in any way natural, but a technical categorization on specious grounds.112 The human possesses a different “kind of soul,” endowed with thought in excess of those animal processes of “imagination, memory, and voice.”113 Justice, which is a matter of norms—an “equalizing law,” as Basnett terms it114—can find no common ground with other animals, and so these thoughtless and speechless creatures are excluded, “denied equal community membership,” regardless of their contribution.115 Yet, as I have already shown here, contemporary scholars find little evidence for such a strong distinction between humans and animals, with animals demonstrating strong senses of equity, morality, affect, and even (though not uncontentiously) justice. Hobbes, too, sees no such distinction. Man and beast function in the same way—according to mechanics and circulation, appetite and action—and whatever “superiority” humans might presume to hold over the animal is but a matter of the complexity of their pursuits. Indeed, as Aristotle himself recognizes, because of this complexity or sophistication (which he attributes to reason), the human animal, “when separated from law and justice ... is the worst of all.”116 No other creature commits so great of crimes against equity and morality and affection and justice as the human creature. Hobbes knows this to be all too true.

In Leviathan, human society cannot be said to be “better” or “best,” as Aristotle would have it, on the basis of any supposed rationality or sophistication. Preceding the state, Hobbes argues that “men live ... in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man.”117 In the state of war there “is no place for industry,” nor “culture,” nor “letters,” nor “society”: the life of the human creature in such a state is one of “continual fear, and danger of violent death ... solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”118 In these oft quoted passages, Hobbes view is plain. The circulation and movement of things has no end, no culmination; the state is not the telos of the human creature, but a contingent consequence of “desires” and “passions,” just like the organizations of other animals.

Here, however, from our own historical position, we must be careful not to universalize Hobbes’s own position, insofar as his views seem more “accurate” than those of Aristotle. Definitions, as I have argued, are performative and operative, establishing subjectivities (and sovereigns, in the cases of Machiavelli and Hobbes) and modes of conduct. Certainly, Hobbes’s consideration of the human creature provides a strong critique of the human-animal divide which Aristotle supports, but in such brief readings as this, it is far too easy to reduce Hobbes (or Machiavelli, or Aristotle) to caricatures of themselves, and far too tempting to glean from such sketches what we presume to be absolute laws of reality. Hobbes, too, reaches back to an origin, an origin which he constructs, as much as he discovers. Like Aristotle, he projects from this origin a structure of reality that, as Burke argues, is made into a natural derivation of such. As Chris Danta and Dimitris Vardoulakis contend, the solution to the myriad of problems here discussed does not lie in the incorporation of animals into our present political situation.119 Rather, the very definitions of human and animal, political and non-political, must be troubled, insofar as the system as a whole is propagated on the violence that these definitions effect. This violence is the same violence that cuts out those humans who do not fit the political mold, who do not have the necessary ability or skill, who are not touched by “fortune,” whose “desires” and “passions” do not happen to coincide with the whole. Patrick Llored120 argues too that it is “belief in this limit” which is at the very “origin of the concepts of human and animal,” and which constructs the norms by which the violence of the political can be justified against those deemed external to it.121 It is this logic of division which Nick Vaughan-Williams critiques in contemporary politics, regarding the global refugee crisis and its use of such originating definitions to separate, categorize, and control.122 The “bordering practices” of the European Union employ the “traditional logic of inside/outside” to humanize or animalize whoever they will.123 The violence of this dictation employs the symbolic register of violence, discussed above, to situate the refugee in relation to the law, to rule whether the refugee is regular or “irregular,” and to inscribe in the flesh either a subjectivity or animality recognizable to the state.124 Vaughan-Williams argues that the “animalisation” that occurs at the border is the very “condition of possibility for humanitarianism,”125 which employs the devices and discourses of the state in the name of the ‘human,’ rather than considering the way in which such denotations shape the system itself, and fuel the crises seen beyond the limits of the border. The “threshold” is “never stable”—it is “always haunted by its constitutive outsides,” outsides effected in blood.126 In our studies and explorations, it is important that we recognize the risk of falling into the same faulty logic, that we learn from our predecessors such as Hobbes: the political is artificial—what, then, is left for us to do?


By way of a coda to this paper, and a speculative consideration of our contemporary circumstances, I would like to set two fables of animals and the law against each other. The first is interpreted by Jacques Derrida in his final lecture series, The Beast and the Sovereign, the fable of the Wolf and the Lamb. Derrida dwells on the opening lines of the fable: “The reason of the strongest is always the best / As we shall shortly show.”127 Here the senses of reason and sovereignty and best and knowledge find themselves intertwined (as I have already attempted to show above), a condition ripe for Derrida’s deconstructive eye. As he later digs into the text—the lamb threatened by the anger of the wolf, seeking to quench its thirst, accused of muddying the water, of inherited slights, of intrinsic wrongfulness128 —the monstrous, artificial beast, which is the sovereign, emerges, its might self-justifying, self-authorizing, self-defining. The lamb is defenseless, cannot persuade the wolf, cannot justify himself, cannot say anything to allay the wolf’s hunger, the wolf’s desire. And so the wolf “carries him off, and then eats him, / Without further ado.”129 This is the way of beasts, the way of force, which Machiavelli argues to be the most effective mode of politics, the strategy of the ruler possessed of virtù. It is the way of Hobbes’s justice, which has no universal or natural ground, but emerges from the “place” of “common power,”130 which is to say, as a growth from a seed planted in the furrow of the world, of animal flesh, a wound that bleeds the vitality of the state, leeched, appropriated, by the sovereign and his citizens “rightfully” and “justly.”

But in Hobbes, Diego Rossello sees a figure, an apparition, of another wolf, the wolf-man, the melancholic and animalistic lycanthrope, a syndrome and symptom of his age.131 The “frontier between animal and human [which] cast[s] the former as non-political and the latter as political” can be read as a response “to the problem of human wolfishness,” to the predation of desire, to the melancholy of the human creature in the violence of its self-dictation.132 The claim of the subject, the claim to subjectivity, which is the claim to self-sovereignty, produces “pathologies,” Rossello argues, afflictions which Hobbes detects but cannot remedy.133 In the words of Étienne Balibar, the subject is “an internal center of thought whose structure is that of a sovereign decision, an absent presence, or a source of intelligibility that as such is incomprehensible.”134 The will to know and to define is subsumed into the will to subject, to rule—the “subjectum” or foundation becomes the “subditus,” the subject of law, the one ruled135—and the posited “individual” is “submitted to the exercise of a power, whose model is, first of all, political, and whose concept is juridical.”136 “Man,” the “political animal,” has his “obedience inscribed in an order” that is “extraordinarily ambivalent,” thinking the violence of his subjectivity and his subjection to be good, just, and necessary, insofar as it allows him to claim a place on the inside.137

But the state of war, of human wolfishness, of the irruption of desire and need and power and dependence into the supposedly rational realm of politics, is not absolute. La Fontaine’s is not the only fable of wolves, and his conclusion is not the only possible end. In a legend of the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint finds himself living in the town of Gubbio (or Agobio), which is being terrorized by a vicious wolf. He leaves the safety of the city to confront the beast, taking no weapons, nor other tools of war, and there he ministers to the creature:

“Come hither, friar wolf. I command thee in Christ's name that thou do no harm to me nor to any other. [...] Friar wolf, thou dost much damage in these parts, and thou hast committed great crimes, destroying and slaying the creatures of God without His licence: and not only hast thou slain and devoured beasts, but thou hast also had the hardihood to slay men, made in the image of God; for the which cause thou dost merit the gallows as a thief and most iniquitous murderer; and all men cry out against thee and complain, and all this city is thine enemy. But I desire, friar wolf, to make peace between thee and them; to the end that thou mayest no more offend them and that they may forgive thee all thy past offences and neither men nor dogs may pursue thee any more.” At these words, the wolf, by movements of his body and tail and eyes, and by bowing his head, showed that he accepted that which St. Francis said and was minded to observe the same. Thereupon St. Francis spake unto him again saying: “Friar wolf, inasmuch as it seemeth good unto thee to make and keep this peace, I promise thee that, so long as thou shalt live, I will cause thy food to be given thee continually by the men of this city, so that thou shalt no more suffer hunger; for I know full well that whatever of evil thou hast done thou hast done it through hunger. But seeing that I beg for thee this grace, I desire, friar wolf, that thou shouldst promise me that never from henceforward wilt thou injure any human being or any animal. [...]”138

This fable presents a different figure of the political and the social to the reader, indeed, a different figure of the human and the animal, a figure wherein the threshold is not a wall but an opening, and an entrance into dialogue. Francis knows the risk, knows the harm that the wolf can do him, but approaches anyway, knowing that the wolf, too, is in need, that the wolf, too, hungers. He does not threaten, he does not legislate according to the rule of the city, but establishes in the moment a mutual responsibility and commitment that requires no sovereign power, that ignores the tenuous divide of inside and out, refusing the logic of the citizen-subject. For Basnett, such encounters give us new ways to “think of justice in asymmetrical terms ... [of] a justice that exceeds boundaries presumed to be natural.” Such is mercy, to “judge the law in terms of the other of the law—of life.” It is a “fugitive justice,” a “suspension of the equalizing law,” an “ongoing, even perpetual, project.”139 It is, in the words of Geoffrey Bennington, to own the duplicity of the human-as-political, to acknowledge the “eclipse” of the animal by the domain of the subject.140 Here the “self-image” of the human, “constructed” in relation to the “image” of the animal, dissolves into the common in all its particularity and asymmetry and difference and vitality, the “exclusive way of being” that is human being opened to contradiction and alterity, to a state of tension that does not seek to overcome or rule, but to love.141

Works Cited

Abbate, Cheryl E. ““Higher” and “Lower” Political Animals: A Critical Analysis of Aristotle’s Account of the Political Animal.” Journal of Animal Ethics 6, no. 1 (2016): 54-66.

Aristotle. Politics. In The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche, edited by Andrew Bailey, et al., 177-242. Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008.

Balibar, Étienne. “Citizen Subject.” e-flux 77 (2016): 1-11.

Basnett, Caleb J. “Other Political Animals: Aristotle and the Limits of Political Community.” The European Legacy 21, no. 3 (2016): 290-309.

Beardsley, Timothy M. “Political Animals.” BioScience 62, no. 6 (2012): 527-527.

Bekoff, Marc, and Jessica Peirce. Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Political Animals.” Diacritics 39, no. 2 (2009): 21-26, 28-35.

Berry, Christopher J. “Aristotle, Hobbes and Chimpanzees.” Political Studies 54, no. 4 (2006): 827-845.

Burke, Kenneth. “Definition of Man.” The Hudson Review 16, no. 4 (1963): 491-514.

Calkivik, Asli. “Revisting the Violence of Machiavelli.” International Politics 53, no. 4 (2016): 505-518.

Chenoweth, Katie. “The Beast, the Sovereign, and the Letter: Vernacular Posthumanism.” symploke 23, no. 1-2 (2015): 41-56.

Danta, Chris and Dimitris Vardoulakis. “The Political Animal.” SubStance 37, no. 3 (2008): 3-6.

De Vries, Leonie Ansems and Spieker, Jorg. “Hobbes, War, Movement.” Global Society 23, no. 4 (2009): 453-474.

Derrida, Jacques. The Beast & the Sovereign. Edited by Michel Lisse, Marie-Louise Mallet, and Ginette Michaud, translated by Geoffrey Bennington. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Fics, Ryan C. P. “Our Sovereign Others: Phantasms, Heidegger, Animality.” Mosaic 48, no. 3 (2015): 95-110.

Garau, Rodolfo. “Springs, Nitre, and Conatus. The Role of the Heart in Hobbes’s Physiology and Animal Locomotion.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24, no. 2 (2016): 231-256.

Gintis, Herbert, Carel van Schaik, and Christopher Boehm. “Zoon Politikon: The Evolutionary Origins of Human Political Systems.” Current Anthropology 56, no. 3 (2015): 327-353.

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan [1660]. In The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche. Edited by Andrew Bailey, et al., 413-490. Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008.

Hobson, Kersty. “Political Animals? On Animals as Subjects in an Enlarged Political Geography.” Political Geography 26, no. 3 (2007): 250-267.

Kymlicka, Will and Sue Donaldson. “Locating Animals in Political Philosophy.” Philosophy Compass 11, no. 11 (2016): 692-701.

Llored, Patrick. “Zoopolitics.” SubStance 43, no. 2 (2014): 115-123.

Machiavelli, Niccolò. Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius [1512-17]. In The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche, edited by Andrew Bailey, et al., 375-389. Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008.

Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince [1532]. In The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche. Edited by Andrew Bailey, et al., 346-375. Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008.

Rossello, Diego. “Hobbes and the Wolf-Man: Melancholy and Animality in Modern Sovereignty.” New Literary History 43, no. 2 (2012): 255-279.

Russell, Greg. “Machiavelli’s Science of Statecraft: The Diplomacy and Politics of Disorder.” Diplomacy and Statecraft 16, no.2 (2005): 227-250.

Srinivasan, Krithika. “Towards a Political Animal Geography?” Political Geography 50 (2016): 76-78.

The Little Flowers of St. Francis. Translated by W. Heywood, 1906. Retrieved from, 20 March 2017.

Vaughan-Williams, Nick. ““We Are Not Animals!”” Humanitarian Border Security and Zoopolitical Spaces in EUrope.” Political Geography 45 (2015): 1-10.


  1. Aristotle, Politics, in The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche, eds. Andrew Bailey, et al., 177-242 (Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008). 

  2. Ibid., 177. 

  3. Ibid. 

  4. Ibid. 

  5. Ibid., 178. 

  6. Ibid., 177. 

  7. Ibid. 

  8. Ibid., 178. 

  9. Ibid. 

  10. Kenneth Burke, “Definition of Man,” The Hudson Review 16, no. 4 (1963): 491-514. 

  11. Ibid., 491. 

  12. Ibid., 507. 

  13. Ibid., 510. Original emphasis. 

  14. Ibid., 511. Original emphasis. 

  15. Ibid., 493. 

  16. Aristotle, Politics, 179. 

  17. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, in The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche, eds. Andrew Bailey, et al., 346-375 (Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008). 

  18. Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, in The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche, eds. Andrew Bailey, et al., 375-389 (Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008). 

  19. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, in The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought: Volume One: From Plato to Nietzsche, eds. Andrew Bailey, et al., 413-490 (Toronto, ON: Broadview Press, 2008). 

  20. Jacques Derrida, The Beast & the Sovereign, eds. Michel Lisse, et al., trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2009). 

  21. Aristotle, Politics, 178. 

  22. Ibid. 

  23. Ibid., 177. 

  24. Ibid. 

  25. Ibid., 179. 

  26. Ibid., 177. 

  27. Ibid., 187. 

  28. Ibid., 195. 

  29. Ibid., 208. 

  30. Ibid. 

  31. Ibid. 

  32. Ibid. 

  33. Ibid. 

  34. Ibid., 210. 

  35. Ibid., 208. 

  36. Ibid., 204. 

  37. Ibid., 180. My emphasis. 

  38. Ibid., 204. 

  39. Ibid., 188. 

  40. Ibid., 206. 

  41. Ibid., 179. 

  42. Ibid., 210. 

  43. Ibid., 180. 

  44. Ibid., 202. My emphasis. 

  45. Ibid., 197. 

  46. Ibid., 178. 

  47. Cheryl E. Abbate, ““Higher” and “Lower” Political Animals: A Critical Analysis of Aristotle’s Account of the Political Animal,” Journal of Animal Ethics 6, no. 1 (2016): 54-66. 

  48. Ibid., 55. 

  49. Ibid. Original emphasis. 

  50. Marc Bekoff and Jessica Peirce, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2009). 

  51. Abbate, 60-61. 

  52. Ibid., 61-62. 

  53. Timothy M. Beardsley, “Political Animals,” BioScience 62, no. 6 (2012): 527-527. 

  54. Christopher J. Berry, “Aristotle, Hobbes and Chimpanzees,” Political Studies 54, no. 4 (2006): 827-845. 

  55. Herbert Gintis, Carel van Schaik, and Christopher Boehm, “Zoon Politikon: The Evolutionary Origins of Human Political Systems,” Current Anthropology 56, no. 3 (2015): 327-353. 

  56. Kersty Hobson, “Political Animals? On Animals as Subjects in an Enlarged Political Geography,” Political Geography 26, no. 3 (2007): 250-267. 

  57. Ibid., 251. 

  58. Krithika Srinivasan, “Towards a Political Animal Geography?” Political Geography 50 (2016): 76-78. 

  59. Ibid., 76. 

  60. Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson, “Locating Animals in Political Philosophy,” Philosophy Compass 11, no. 11 (2016): 692-701. 

  61. Ibid., 696. 

  62. Aristotle, Politics, 209-10. 

  63. Machiavelli, The Prince, 373. 

  64. Ibid., 347. 

  65. Machiavelli, Discourses, 382. 

  66. Ibid., 388. 

  67. Ibid., 387. 

  68. Ibid. 

  69. Machiavelli, The Prince, 351. 

  70. Ibid. 

  71. Machiavelli, Discourses, 387. 

  72. Machiavelli, The Prince, 373. 

  73. Ibid., 372-73. 

  74. Ibid., 374. 

  75. Ibid., 351. 

  76. Asli Calkivik, “Revisting the Violence of Machiavelli,” International Politics 53, no. 4 (2016): 505-518. 

  77. Ibid., 505. 

  78. Ibid., 506. 

  79. Ibid. 

  80. Greg Russell, “Machiavelli’s Science of Statecraft: The Diplomacy and Politics of Disorder,” Diplomacy and Statecraft 16, no.2 (2005): 227-250. 

  81. Ibid., 231. 

  82. Machiavelli, The Prince, 357. 

  83. Ibid., 347. 

  84. Ibid., 357. 

  85. Ibid., 356. 

  86. Ibid., 359. 

  87. Ibid., 360. 

  88. Ibid., 362. 

  89. Ibid., 364. 

  90. Ibid., 511. 

  91. Ibid. 

  92. Ibid., 364. 

  93. Ibid. My emphasis. 

  94. Ibid. 

  95. Ibid. 

  96. Calkivik, 514. 

  97. Ibid., 515. 

  98. Ibid. 

  99. Hobbes, Leviathan, 413. Original emphasis. 

  100. Ibid., 414. 

  101. Ibid., 425. 

  102. Leonie Ansems de Vries and Jorg Spieker, “Hobbes, War, Movement,” Global Society 23, no. 4 (2009): 453-474. 

  103. Ibid., 461. 

  104. Ibid., 462. 

  105. Ibid., 463. 

  106. Ibid., 464. 

  107. Rodolfo Garau, “Springs, Nitre, and Conatus. The Role of the Heart in Hobbes’s Physiology and Animal Locomotion.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24, no. 2 (2016): 231-256. 

  108. Ibid., 252. 

  109. Hobbes, Leviathan, 413. 

  110. Katie Chenoweth, “The Beast, the Sovereign, and the Letter: Vernacular Posthumanism,” symploke 23, no. 1-2 (2015): 41-56. 

  111. Ibid., 42. 

  112. Caleb J. Basnett, “Other Political Animals: Aristotle and the Limits of Political Community,” The European Legacy 21, no. 3 (2016): 290-309. 

  113. Ibid., 292. 

  114. Ibid., 306. 

  115. Ibid., 292. 

  116. Aristotle, Politics, 179. 

  117. Hobbes, Leviathan, 424. 

  118. Ibid., 424-25. 

  119. Chris Danta and Dimitris Vardoulakis, “The Political Animal,” SubStance 37, no. 3 (2008): 3-6. 

  120. Patrick Llord, “Zoopolitics,” SubStance 43, no. 2 (2014): 115-123. 

  121. Ibid., 116. 

  122. Nick Vaughan-Williams, ““We Are Not Animals!” Humanitarian Border Security and Zoopolitical Spaces in EUrope,” Political Geography 45 (2015): 1-10. 

  123. Ibid., 1. 

  124. Ibid., 2 

  125. Ibid., 4 

  126. Ibid., 8-9. 

  127. Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, 78. 

  128. Ibid., 207-11. 

  129. La Fontaine, cited in Derrida, 211. 

  130. Hobbes, Leviathan, 425. 

  131. Diego Rossello, “Hobbes and the Wolf-Man: Melancholy and Animality in Modern Sovereignty,” New Literary History 43, no. 2 (2012): 255-279. 

  132. Ibid., 257. 

  133. Ibid. 

  134. Étienne Balibar, “Citizen Subject,” e-flux 77 (2016): 1-11; 1. 

  135. Ibid., 4-5. 

  136. Ibid., 7. 

  137. Ibid., 10. 

  138. The Little Flowers of St. Francis, trans. W. Heywood, 1906. Retrieved from, 20 March 2017. 

  139. Basnett, 306. 

  140. Geoffrey Bennington, “Political Animals,” Diacritics 39, no. 2 (2009): 21-26, 28-35; 22. 

  141. Ryan C. P. Fics, “Our Sovereign Others: Phantasms, Heidegger, Animality,” Mosaic 48, no. 3 (2015): 95-110. 

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