Recent contributions by Collins, Evans, Jasanoff and Wynne to the discussion of how science and technology studies (STS) might contribute to understanding ‘subpolitics’ – the complex, expert knowledge-intensive and distributed political issues technological societies have to deal with – and involvement of STS scholars in experiments to extend public participation in decision-making about science and technology are shown to be based on an un-reflexive use of an off-the-shelf conception of politics. This conception, grafted on the old model of the sovereign, frames political actors as ‘mini-kings’: as subjects with preferences, interests, aims and plans that they want to be executed. To reveal the limitations of this conception of politics, I confront it with Aristotle’s conception of politics. The conception of politics that has guided work in STS is shown to be based on too narrow a conception of political action that fails to properly account for the object of politics. I argue that Aristotle invites us to analyse the object of politics in ways that closely resemble the way in which STS has learned to analyse the object of experimental science. Although Latour comes close to the tasks that an Aristotelian conception of politics suggest, his Politics of Nature shares some of the limitations that trouble other work of STS in the political domain. Despite 25 centuries separating us from his conception of politics, Aristotle may help STS to understand the politics implied in subpolitics.