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Title: Nietzsche and social change
Author: Sokolov, Dariush
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 2306
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis develops a radical Nietzschean approach to social change. Its subject area is how social entities – for example, institutions, practices, norms, values, cultures – are reproduced or transformed. Its ethical and political starting point is one of resistance to capitalism. Its philosophical starting point is the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. Its approach is eclectic, reading Nietzsche with post-Nietzschean philosophy and work in developmental psychology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, feminist theory, and more. The thesis starts with Nietzsche's conception of history in On the Genealogy of Morals. Nietzsche sees social transformation resulting from multiple contingent encounters of bodies with diverse ‘modes of valuation’ and forms of life. This view opposes the universalist approach Nietzsche calls ‘English Genealogy’, which runs from Hume through Darwin down to contemporary liberal ‘cultural evolution’ theories. The middle part of the thesis investigates Nietzsche's views on social processes following two main strands: the ‘psycho-physiology’ of sub-individual drives he develops in Dawn and other texts of the ‘free spirit’ period; and his encounter with Darwinism. These chapters offer accounts of mimetic and performative incorporation of values; of normalisation and subjectivation; and an ‘ecological’ approach to social evolution drawing on multi-dimensional accounts of heredity, Developmental Systems Theory, and Felix Guattari's conception of ‘the three ecologies’. The last part of the thesis applies these ideas to today's social struggles. It uses Nietzsche's Genealogy to understand technologies of domination at work in contemporary capitalism, alongside Foucault's work on power and Judith Herman's study of psychological trauma. The concluding chapter looks at how Nietzsche's thought can help develop projects of resistance to capitalism, drawing on James Scott's study of the ‘weapons of the weak’, and feminist debates on identity. Working with Nietzsche on resistance both brings out the power and takes us to the limits of his philosophy of self-transformation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General)