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Marcel Mangold

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Marcel Mangold
Doctoral Student
Alfred Nobels allé 7
Södertörns Högskola
Phone: +46 8 608 4972
Fax: +46 8 608 4200
ME 127 Moas Båge

My main area of interest is political theory, understood in a broad sense, often with continental philosophical influences. This includes different engagements with genealogy, aesthetics, critical theory, governmentality, security, affect, psychopolitics and the anthropocene. I am also working on topics related to fascist developments and different ways of conceptualising effects of neoliberalism on political agency, communities and (affective) subjectivity in today’s world. I also have more broad interests in cinema, literature, dance and art as domains to think through politics, subjectification and other relevant topics for political theory.

I have written about political time and the effects of preventative and pre-emptive approaches  and logics in science, politics and media on agency, subjectivity and community. 

My current writings treat the concept and the dynamics of ressentiment in the rise and affective communication of extreme right movements. I also work on a text in which I engage with improvisational dance to theorise alternative habitus or embodied capacities as a way to account for modes of resistance to neoliberal standardisation of subjectivity and habitus in public spaces. Related to these topics are interests in novel dispositifs of power, in domains such as Artificial Intelligence, algorithms and various forms of digital interface and how these shape the possible and govern human behavior.

I have also translated numerous texts in political theory and philosophy, notably several texts by Jean-Luc Nancy. I translated and edited texts on politics and democracy in the Swedish book Demokratins Sanning (Tankekraft, 2014), an anthology based on Nancy’s Verité de la démocratie. I have also translated post-colonial feminist theory (Postkolonial feminism 2011) and continental philosophical texts on democracy (Vad innebär det att vara demokrat?, 2010).

In 2014, I was awarded a Fulbright grant to visit Johns Hopkins University, where I stayed two years as a visiting graduate student. At Hopkins I participated in the work of the department of political science and its particular contributions within and approaches to political theory. I worked on topics such as queer theory, new materialism, romanticism, anthropocene and statelessness.

On September 7 2018, I will defend my thesis:

Securing the Working Democracy: Inventive arrangements to guarantee circulation and the emergence of democracy policy


In the 1990s, Swedish democracys ability to remain strong and renew itself became increasingly questioned in government commission reports and social-scientific writings. The perceptions of the financial crisis in 1992-1994, new identities, immigration and changes in participation in civic associations and organizations were listed as challenges to democracy. Together, they helped constitute an understanding of an emerging gap between the popu- lation and existing representative democratic forms. In response, the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s saw the emergence of several discourses, political initiatives and scientific contributions that articulated and res- ponded to the need to secure a “working democracy”. By analyzing theo- retically the arrangements of elements in policy and in attempts to shape the populations habits, dispositions and behavior, the thesis illuminates the role of aesthetics in the knowledge and power effects of these efforts. Methodologically, the thesis draws on Michel Foucaults genealogical ap- proach in four empirical chapters. In doing so, the thesis displays why, when and how the efforts to secure a working democracy emerged, and analyzes the politics inherent to them. The chapters consist, first, of a study of the birth and changes in “democracy policy” as a distinct political domain; second, a mapping of the emergence of the discourse and dispositif of “value- foundation”; third, a mapping of the discourse on exclusion and the discourse on and apparatus to combat “violence-promoting extremism”, and, finally, a mapping of inventive approaches in survey research that articulated how to secure a working democracy. This mapping exposes a vision of democratic dis-involvement and how to contain it infused by risk- management, benchmarking and a monitoring of changes in the population. Taken together, the chapters demonstrate the emergence of a complex network of power relations and knowledge used to achieve congruence between the population and governmental aims. This, the thesis underscores, marginalizes the role of dissent and interruptions in democratic life, to instead equate democracy with a system of congruence, smooth interactions and overall alignment to demands on circulation.

Keywords: democracy, genealogy, democracy policy, circulation, govern- mentality, dispositif, Swedish politics, värdegrund, exclusion, violence- promoting extremism, Foucault, Rancière.