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    Intelligence, reason of state and the art of governing risk and opportunity in early modern Europe

    Hutchinson, Steven (2014) Intelligence, reason of state and the art of governing risk and opportunity in early modern Europe. Economy and Society 43 (3), pp. 370-400. ISSN 0308-5147.

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    Abstract

    Drawing upon primary and secondary historical material, this paper explores the role of intelligence in early modern government. It focuses upon developments in seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century England, a site-specific genealogical moment in the broader history of state power/knowledges. Addressing a tendency in Foucauldian work to neglect pre-eighteenth-century governance, the analysis reveals a set of interrelated processes which gave rise to an innovative technique for anticipating hazard and opportunity for the state. At the intersection of raison d’État, the evolving art of government, widespread routines of secrecy and a post-Westphalia field of European competition and exchange, intelligence was imagined as a fundamental solution to the concurrent problems of ensuring peace and stability while improving state forces. In the administrative offices of the English Secretary of State, an assemblage of complex and interrelated procedures sought to produce and manipulate information in ways which exposed both possible risks to the state and potential opportunities for expansion and gain. As this suggests, the art of intelligence played an important if largely unacknowledged role in the formation and growth of the early modern state. Ensuring strategic advantage over rivals, intelligence also limited the ability of England's neighbours to dominate trade, control the seas and master the colonies, functioning as a constitutive feature of European balance and equilibrium. As the analysis concludes, understanding intelligence as a form of governmental technique – a way of doing something – reveals an entirely novel way of thinking about and investigating its myriad (historical and contemporary) formations.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Intelligence, Security, Government, Reason of State, Sovereignty
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Law
    Depositing User: Steven Hutchinson
    Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2016 11:39
    Last Modified: 12 Feb 2020 20:03
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/14836

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