Diplomacy and Ideology on Sale Until May 1

Starting today, my book Diplomacy and Ideology: From the French Revolution to the Digital Age will be 20% off if ordered directly from Routledge. The sale will go on until May 1, and includes most of their titles.

From the description of Diplomacy and Ideology:

This innovative new book argues that diplomacy, which emerged out of the French Revolution, has become one of the central Ideological State Apparatuses of the modern democratic nation-state.

The book is divided into four thematic parts. The first presents the central concepts and theoretical perspectives derived from the work of Slavoj Žižek, focusing on his understanding of politics, ideology, and the core of the conceptual apparatus of Lacanian psychoanalysis. There then follow three parts treating diplomacy as archi-politics, ultra-politics, and post-politics, respectively highlighting three eras of the modern history of diplomacy from the French Revolution until today. The first part takes on the question of the creation of the term ‘diplomacy’, which took place during the time of the French Revolution. The second part begins with the effects on diplomacy arising from the horrors of the two World Wars. Finally, the third part covers another major shift in Western diplomacy during the last century, the fall of the Soviet Union, and how this transformation shows itself in the field of Diplomacy Studies. The book argues that diplomacy’s primary task is not to be understood as negotiating peace between warring parties, but rather to reproduce the myth of the state’s unity by repressing its fundamental inconsistencies.

On Atomism in Cassin and Hegel

In a new article in Swedish in the philosophy journal Res Cogitans, I take on the question concerning the relationship between language and reality in Barbara Cassin’s philosophistry. More specifically, I am focusing on her interpretation of Jacques Lacans reading of Democritus atomism and heridea that the atom and the void are sophistic creations which, at the same time, follows and avoid the logic of language. In the text I am attempting to approach Cassin’s reading of Democritus den in the light of Lacan’s and Hegel’s respective understanding of ancient atomism. The article touches upon the identifiable differences between the kind of Materialism that the three thinkers have identified in Democritus theories and how these Materialisms depicts the relation between the real and language/discourse. Focus is her on the understanding of den, the Greek word which neither signifies something nor nothing, invented by Democritus both with and against the grammar of ancient Greek. In the end, the text proposes a reading of den that highlights its role as, at the same time, remainder and initial lack.

Discussing upcoming book on populism

Recently, my colleague David Payne and I met up with SITE Zones and professor Sven-Olov Wallenstein to discuss an upcoming anthology on populism that David and I are editing together with Gustav Strandberg. We were speaking about some of the issues concerning the concept of populism and what we can say about the people as a political subject, both today and in relation to its past.

In connection to this discussion, we have also presented eight theses on the people as a category. Here, we have tried to relate the category of the people both to its role within the history of critical thought and its function in what many have termed the contemporary ‘populist moment’ in politics. We are thus trying to tease out some of the historical background to which any idea of a ‘people’ is necessarily tied. The text can be found here.

New article on diplomacy, rhetoric, and representation

I recently wrote an article in Swedish treating the problem of representation through the shared history of diplomacy and rhetoric. The article is now available in volume 81 of Rhetorica Scandinavica, a Nordic journal in Rhetorical Studies. In the article, I take on the joint problem of representation through an investigation into its different solutions, taking us from Plato’s and Aristotle’s critique of the sophists, through Demosthenes’ and Aeschines’ joint effort to create peace between Athens and Philip II of Macedon, to Rousseau, Kant, and contemporary scholars studying diplomatic rhetoric. In Kant’s idea of perpetual peace and Perelman’s concept of a universal audience, I discover what we might
call modernity’s answer to this ancient problem, the acceptance of what in Hegelian parlance could be called the bad infinity of diplomatic and rhetorical communication. Finally, and by contrast, I look to Lacan’s use of the diplomat as an illustration of the limits of representation, allowing for a discussion concerning the possibility of avoiding the endless dialectic of trial and error.

Diplomacy and Ideology available now

After some delay, Diplomacy and Ideology: From the French Revolution to the Digital Age is now available from Routledge in physical form. The book treats the concept and history of diplomacy. Taking as a starting point the prevalent ideas that diplomacy either is an inherent and inescapable trait of human society or a practice that evolved in tandem with the modern nation state, this book argues that diplomacy proper emerged in and through the French Revolution. Furthermore, by following the evolution of diplomacy from the glorious Revolution to our digital era, the book also argues that this event also came to mark three of diplomacy’s most fundamental problems: its ambiguous name, its impending death, and the failure of representation.

The book is divided into four thematic parts. The first presents the central concepts and theoretical perspectives derived from the work of Slavoj Žižek, focusing on his understanding of politics, ideology, and the core of the conceptual apparatus of Lacanian psychoanalysis. There then follow three parts treating diplomacy as archi-politics, ultra-politics, and post-politics, respectively highlighting three eras of the modern history of diplomacy from the French Revolution until today. The first part takes on the question of the creation of the term ‘diplomacy’, which took place during the time of the French Revolution. The second part begins with the effects on diplomacy arising from the horrors of the two World Wars. Finally, the third part covers another major shift in Western diplomacy during the last century, the fall of the Soviet Union, and how this transformation shows itself in the field of Diplomacy Studies. The book argues that diplomacy’s primary task is not to be understood as negotiating peace between warring parties, but rather to reproduce the myth of the state’s unity by repressing its fundamental inconsistencies.

New article in Philosophy & Rhetoric

Recently I published the article “Slavoj Žižek and Dialectical Sophistics: On the Relationship between Dialectical Philosophy and Philosophical Rhetoric” in the journal Philosophy & Rhetoric. The article constitutes an attempt to approach the problem of so-called post-truth (and the critique against rhetoric that comes with this concept) through a reading of the problem of the sophist in the works of Barbara Cassin and Alain Badiou. The starting point is Slavoj Žižek’s depiction of the ongoing debate between Badiou and Cassin as stained by sexual difference, allowing for an attempt to develop a way out of the dead-end of post-truth through the disavowed truth that sustains the antagonism between philosophy and sophistry.

My book Diplomacy and Ideology available as eBook

Due to the ongoing Corona crisis, the publication of my book Diplomacy and Ideology: From the French Revolution to the Digital Age has been delayed. However, it is now available as eBook from Routledge. In this book, in which I treat the concept and history of diplomacy, I argue that it has become one of the central Ideological State Apparatuses of the modern democratic nation-state.

The book is divided into four thematic parts. The first presents the central concepts and theoretical perspectives derived from the work of Slavoj Žižek, focusing on his understanding of politics, ideology, and the core of the conceptual apparatus of Lacanian psychoanalysis. There then follow three parts treating diplomacy as archi-politics, ultra-politics, and post-politics, respectively highlighting three eras of the modern history of diplomacy from the French Revolution until today. The first part takes on the question of the creation of the term ‘diplomacy’, which took place during the time of the French Revolution. The second part begins with the effects on diplomacy arising from the horrors of the two World Wars. Finally, the third part covers another major shift in Western diplomacy during the last century, the fall of the Soviet Union, and how this transformation shows itself in the field of Diplomacy Studies. The book argues that diplomacy’s primary task is not to be understood as negotiating peace between warring parties, but rather to reproduce the myth of the state’s unity by repressing its fundamental inconsistencies.

On Diplomacy and War in Europe

I recently contributed to a special issue of Crisis and Critique on the future of Europe. The questions, as posed by editors Frank Ruda and Agon Hamza, revolved around the role of crisis in Europe: is it permanent? Is it worsening? Have we become complacent living within a state of permanent crisis? In the text I approach some perspectives on the philosophy of peace and war, trying to work out the role of diplomacy in the conservation of the modern nation state. The full text is available here and includes interesting contributions from, among others, Slavoj Žižek, Wolfgang Streeck, and Judith Balso.