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Aristophanes and Aristocracy. Political Gender and the Hermeneutics of Desire (2014-2015)

Field of study: Ancient History, Greek Theatre, Comedy

This paper is concerned with the study of gender as political metaphor. It argues that in ancient Athens, or indeed in other pre-industrial societies, the aristocracy had symbolic feminine attributes, and that „political gender” was performed by the people of the time in order to allegorically signify the political relationships between different social classes; essentially this means that gender and love were perceived as mediums of political expression. His-story, the contemporary production of the past through the lens of “big men”, ignores the role of symbolic women, projecting instead today’s hyper masculine worldview of what it means to be part of the elite. Mostly based on capital strength and the idea that the nobility was synonymous with warlords and brute force, this view has the direct result of excluding Eros from the political conversation that residually survives in ancient texts. Eros, thus exiled to an exclusively private sphere, such as the private life of individuals, has lost nowadays its multifaceted ancient meanings, and this paper is a step towards recovering them.

Keywords: political gender, political love, Eros, aristocracy

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