Forum: Peter Sloterdijk’s ‘Pseudonymous Politics’



Claudia Aradau - Performative Politics and International Relations

Friedrich Kratochwil - Of Myths, Lies, and Phantasies: Some Critical Remarks on Sloterdijk’s “Pseudonymous Politics”

Barry J Ryan - Platonic Speleology and Peter Sloterdijk’s Theory of Pseudonymous Politics

Sassan Gholiagha - On the Meaning of Democracy: Critique and Counter-Critique

Benjamin Tallis - Names and Roses: The Democratic Potential of Sloterdijk’s Authentic Lies

Peter Sloterdijk’s ‘On Pseudonymous Politics’ is a typically rich intervention into the contemporary politics of democracy by the world-renowned philosopher that offers insightful analysis into the other phenomena that he sees the term ‘democracy’ as concealing – as giving alias and alibi to. Sloterdijk grounds his argument in extensive historical analysis of the ‘pseudonymous’ condition of democracy and identifies four phenomena to which democracy is a nom de guerre: Oligocracy, Fiscocracy, Mobocracy and Phobocracy.

However, ‘On Pseudonymous Politics’ is also a rejoinder to some of democracy’s contemporary discontents and represents a significant move to address the way that contemporary analysts, commentators and academics have responded to ‘post-truth’, populism (on the left and right) and the battle for liberal democracy in the Western world and beyond. It thus treads deliberately onto the turf of Politics and International Relations and is a challenge to scholars in our field.

This is appropriate given that this text was first delivered ‘live’ as the ‘Cardiff Lecture’, the keynote address at the European International Studies Association’s (EISA)’s 2017 EWIS workshops, to an audience of IR scholars (in a translation paid for by New Perspectives’ publisher, the IIR Prague). Four of those scholars – Claudia Aradau, who provided the live response, Barry J Ryan, Sassan Gholiagha and myself – respond to it now and we are honoured to be joined by Friedrich Kratochwil. It has been a privilege to have been involved at every stage of this process. It is even more of a privilege to now share with you a forum of exceptional insight and diversity on some of today’s most pressing concerns. We encourage further responses to continue this conversation.