“Society as an Experiment”? Reading Nietzsche on the margins of social theory
Professor Nigel Dodd (Department of Sociology) and Dr Carrie Friese (Department of Sociology)
Classical, Modern and Contemporary Social Thought; Nietzsche; Bio-social Ethics; Reception Studies; Medical Humanities
My thesis explores absent parameters of the ‘social’ in Nietzsche’s late works and their reception in social theory. Departing from his fantasy of a revalued future, I argue that Nietzsche’s heterogenous reception across the left and right today has to be understood as a site of rhetorical seductions. Rather than technically reconstruct Nietzsche’s ‘social views’, I offer ways to theorize how texts become sites of reader projections, always mediated through readers’ (mis)identifications with the gendered and classed figures of mastery and subjugation in Nietzsche’s writings, from the ‘affirmative woman’ to the ‘bourgeois slaves’. I revisit the discussion on the status of the intertwined biological and social metaphors in Nietzsche’s writings, metaphors which have been often sanitized in his reception through hermeneutics of suspicion. The figure of the experimenter (Versucher) offers an overarching methodological device through which I delineate the Nietzschean parameters of the ‘social’ across the diagnostic and therapeutic registers, as dangerously seductive and unstable, resisting domestication.
(2020) ‘Review of Penelope Deutscher, Foucault’s futures: A critique of reproductive reason’, British Journal of Sociology, 71 (5), 1046-1048.
(2020) ‘Human, stubbornly human, sensibly human?’, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 21 (1), 74-81.
(2016) ‘Simmel’s reading of Nietzsche: the promise of “Philosophical sociology”’, Journal of Classical Sociology, 16 (4), 1-24.
(2016) ‘Foucault, Truth and the Death of God’, four by three magazine, Issue 3