Thursday, 28 February 2013

A body politic



A body politic is a metaphor in which a nation is considered to be a corporate entity, being likened to a human body. The word "politic" in this phrase is a postpositive adjective; so it is "a body of a politic nature" rather than "a politic of a bodily nature". A body politic comprises all the people in a particular country considered as a single group. 

The analogy is typically continued by reference to the apex of government as the head of state, but may be extended to other anatomical parts, as in political readings of the Aesop's fable, "The Belly and the Members". The metaphor also appears in the French language as the corps-├ętat. The metaphor developed in Renaissance times, as the medical knowledge based upon the classical work of Galen was being challenged by new thinkers such as William Harvey. Analogies were made between the supposed causes of disease and disorder and their equivalents in the political field which were considered to be plagues or infections which might be remedied by purges and nostrums.