Gefühlspolitik. Friedrich II. als Herr über die Herzen? (2012)

Gefühlspolitik Buchcover

Frevert, Ute:

Gefühlspolitik. Friedrich II. als Herr über die Herzen?

Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag 2012.
ISBN: 978-3-8353-1008-7
link to the publisher

Frederick II of Prussia knew that it wouldn’t be sufficient for a good king to exert control over his subjects’ bodies, but that he should also conquer their hearts. In (early) modern times, monarchs had to rule in a manner that led people to obey through love, not through fear and pressure. This was dictated by the theory of state. In practice though, what about a king who had never been known to possess a mild temper or a gentle attitude? The book analyses Frederick’s concept of power as well as the implementation of his emotional practices within this concept. It shows the enlightened absolutist’s methods in looking for consent and the affection of his subjects who in their turn took advantage of his endeavors. They imposed conditions, formulated expectations and in cases when the king ignored them they reacted disappointedly. Even before today’s media society – as the book shows – the communication of power worked in both directions. In the eighteenth century and in completely different political circumstances, we discover the beginnings of an emotion policy that has left its permanent mark on the modern era