Performing Citizenship in Plato's Laws

Performing Citizenship in Plato's Laws

by Lucia Prauscello
Performing Citizenship in Plato's Laws

Performing Citizenship in Plato's Laws

by Lucia Prauscello


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In the Laws, Plato theorizes citizenship as simultaneously a political, ethical, and aesthetic practice. His reflection on citizenship finds its roots in a descriptive psychology of human experience, with sentience and, above all, volition seen as the primary targets of a lifelong training in the values of citizenship. In the city of Magnesia described in the Laws erôs for civic virtue is presented as a motivational resource not only within the reach of the 'ordinary' citizen, but also factored by default into its educational system. Supporting a vision of 'perfect citizenship' based on an internalized obedience to the laws, and persuading the entire polity to consent willingly to it, requires an ideology that must be rhetorically all-inclusive. In this city 'ordinary' citizenship itself will be troped as a performative action: Magnesia's choral performances become a fundamental channel for shaping, feeling and communicating a strong sense of civic identity and unity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107421165
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/19/2017
Series: Cambridge Classical Studies
Pages: 282
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

Lucia Prauscello is University Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity Hall. She has published on Greek philology, literature and music. Her monograph Singing Alexandria: Music between Practice and Textual Transmission was published in 2006.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Preliminaries; Part I. Performing Ordinary Virtue in Plato's Utopias: Citizenship, Desire and Intention: 1. Citizenship in Callipolis; 2. Citizenship in Magnesia; Part II. Citizenship and Performance in the Laws: 3. Choral performances, persuasion and pleasure; 4. Patterns of chorality in Magnesia; 5. Comedy and comic discourse in Magnesia; 6. Epilogue: on law, agency and motivation.
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