chapter  3
56 Pages

Public War: The Wars of the Corporate-Sovereign State

In this chapter, I specify the conditions-of-possibility for what I have been calling “public war”—that is, war fought by recognizably public authorities over quintessentially political issues such as authority, sovereignty, and jurisdiction-in late medieval Latin Christendom. I begin by developing a sketch of the political architecture of organized violence particular to this era, focusing on the emergence of both a historical specifi c confi guration of war-making unit (the “corporate-sovereign” state) and a historically specifi c translocal structure within which those units interacted (a structure that differentiated its units primarily-but not exclusively-according to the segmentary principle of sovereignty). I next discuss the structural antagonisms that crystallized as a result of the competitive enactment of the script of corporate-sovereign statehood within this structure, as well as the “Hobbesian-Lockean” political culture that conditioned the way in which these structural antagonisms worked themselves out. The chapter then proceeds with an examination of the late medieval fundamental institution of war, specifying the way in which it enabled and legitimized the use of force in certain circumstances and anathematized them in others. In the following chapter, I round out this picture of late medieval war by considering the way in which the Church constituted a distinct form of war-making unit embedded in a distinct constellation of structural antagonisms.