Pavel Himl: “Sine respectu personarum.” The Creation of a New

“Sine respectu personarum.”
The Creation of a New Citizen by Policing the Population.
Habsburg monarchy, 1750–1820
Pavel Himl
From a Foucauldian notion of biopolitics, the police of the Era of Enlightenment could be
seen, broadly speaking, as an instrument which intentionally handled the population of a
state so as to increase its (living) resources. Correspondingly, it is often hard to tell which
institutions or administrative functions in the 18th century ought to be seen as ‘police’.
Leaving aside any search for the origins of the modern police institutions, the paper focuses
rather on police functions such as control, surveillance, and identification and on the way in
which different social groups were – or ought to have been, at least in theory – treated by
the relevant municipal or state offices and officers. This contribution investigates not only
the normative level but also cases when newly introduced powers pertaining to all social
classes met with the resistance of certain groups or individuals. From the well-known
opposition of nobility to the usage of passports, we broaden our view to include control of
population movement and authority to investigate in general. In parallel, we also investigate
possible equalisation effects of administrative methods such as space division or the
introduction of the new forms of communication. The paper argues that this administrative
work can be considered as production of new, potentionaly equal, „objects“ of social
interaction, but also of historiographical research.