What is the state? The State of Freedom offers an important new take on this classic question by exploring what exactly the state did and how it worked. Patrick Joyce asks us to re-examine the ordinary things of the British state from dusty government files and post offices to well-thumbed primers in ancient Greek and Latin and the classrooms and dormitories of public schools and Oxbridge colleges. This is also a history of the 'who' and the 'where' of the state, of the people who ran the state, the government offices they sat in and the college halls they dined in. Patrick Joyce argues that only by considering these things, people and places can we really understand the nature of the modern state. This is both a pioneering new approach to political history in which social and material factors are centre stage, and a highly original history of modern Britain.
Patrick Joyce is Emeritus Professor of History, University of Manchester. He is a leading British social historian and has written and edited numerous books of social and political history, including Visions of the People (Cambridge University Press, 1991), The Oxford Reader on Class (1995), The Rule of Freedom (2003) and Material Powers (2010).
1. Introduction: the powers of the state; Part I. The State of Things: Connecting: 2. 'Man is made of the Post Office': making the social technical; 3. Postal economy and society: making the technical social; 4. Filing the Raj: political technologies of the imperial state; Part II. The State of Men: Governing: 5. The work of the state; 6. The grammars of governance: pedagogies of the powerful; 7. 'The fathers govern the nation': the public school and the Oxbridge College; 8. Conclusion: legacies of the liberal Leviathan.