The police should be the “Maître des Plaisirs of the great Heap,“ Johann Peter Frank demanded in his System of a Complete Medical Police in 1783. The 18th century is the incubation period of modern management of crowds, then known as “great Heaps.” At the time, “Policey” referred not just to those deployed on the ground, but to the entirety of administration, from the regulations elaborated in government offices to the enforcement of those regulations and the use of violence in cases of insubordination and turmoil. The “police of joys,” as Justus Möser called it in his Patriotic Fantasies, was charged with “sapping folly’s ferment,” so it wouldn’t “blow up the barrel.”
Bruno Preisendörfer, born in 1957, lives in Berlin. He studied German literature, political science, and sociology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and at the Free University Berlin. He received his MA in German literature in 1986, and his PhD in political science in 1997. From 1987 to 1999 he edited journals on various topics. Since 1999 he has been a freelance journalist and writer. Latest publications: Staatsbildung als Königskunst: Ästhetik und Herrschaft im preußischen Absolutismus (2000); Das Bildungsprivileg: Warum Chancengleichheit unerwünscht ist (2008); Candy oder Die unsichtbare Hand: Nach einem berühmten Vorbild des Herrn von Voltaire erzählt und auf den Stand der neuen Weltordnung gebracht (2011); Fifty Blues (novel, 2012); Der waghalsige Reisende: Johann Gottfried Seume und das ungeschützte Leben (2012); Hat Gott noch eine Zukunft? Glaube — Alltag — Transzendenz (2013); Die Schutzbefohlenen (novel, 2013).