Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Society as an experiment? Reading Nietzsche on the margins of social theory

Partyga, Dominika (2022) Society as an experiment? Reading Nietzsche on the margins of social theory. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 30 November 2024.

Download (1MB)
Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004560


This thesis explores the absent parameters of the ‘social’ in Nietzsche’s works alongside its reception in contemporary political and social theory, responding to renewed concerns with his class racism. Departing from his unsettling ideas on a caste society, breeding and slavery, I argue that Nietzsche’s contemporary reception across the left and right has to be understood as a site of dissonant rhetorical effects. Rather than technically reconstruct Nietzsche’s anti-social positions, I theorize how the hierarchical organisation of the texts facilitates readers’ (mis)identifications, dramatized in the figures of victory and subjugation in his writings, from the ‘philosopher of the future’ to the ‘affirmative woman’. This complements existing reconstructions of Nietzsche’s theory of a two-caste society by centring his rhetorical forms of addressing, conjuring and mobilising his ideal readers towards the project of revaluation. I revisit the discussion on the status of the intertwined biological and social metaphors in Nietzsche’s writings, which have been often sanitized in reception through hermeneutics of suspicion. While readings of Nietzsche in the post-structuralist tradition productively appropriated his suspicions of language as a site of metaphoric transference, sign chains and power relationships, they often ignore Nietzsche’s concerns with degeneration and racial hygiene. Despite Nietzsche’s dangerous socio-biologism, I argue that the philosopher can be still productively used on the Marxist-left as a master of rhetoric. Drawing on Nietzsche’s reception in feminist and post-colonial theory, I argue that the significance of class racism in Nietzsche’s thinking should be theorised in relation to the figure of the noble as a mythical founder of the order of signs. The esoteric figure of the ‘philosopher of the future’ as an experimenter and tempter (Versucher) offers an overarching methodological device through which I delineate Nietzsche’s purchase for centring the role that readers’ self-identifications play in the canonisation of social theories.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Dominika Partyga
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Dodd, Nigel

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics