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Dr Simon Townsend

Associate Lecturer

My primary area of research is the political philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. In particular, I am currently focusing on interpreting the underlying claims that Nietzsche makes about political states, including their formation and their periods of decadence and decline. I am investigating the complex relationship between political states and 'higher individuals', who are both a product of certain types of state but are also often the driving impetus behind the emergence of strong states.

I also write on the philosophies and political theories of several twentieth-century Nietzscheans, including Georges Bataille and Michel Foucault, both in respect to their interpretations of Nietzsche and their overall body of work. I am also interested in contemporary agonistic democracy, both the Nietzschean and non-Nietzschean strands, which focuses on the inevitability of conflict between social groups and the necessity of processing this conflict democratically. 

I have convened several Masters level modules focused primarily on exploring the writings of Nietzsche and Foucault, including their views on politics, power, and ethics. I am also the convenor for a first-year module, Power and Democracy, which introduces students to many of the most significant strands of contemporary democratic theory, including competitive elitism, participatory democracy, deliberation democracy, and agonistic democracy. I have also taught on a wide range of undergraduate modules (see teaching tab for more information). 


Open office hours:

Tuesday 14.30-16.30. 

Research interests



Nietzsche on the Rise of Strong Political States and Their Cultivation of Higher Individuals (2020). Review of Politics 82 (1).

The Exploitation of Sacred Desire: Rethinking Georges Bataille's Political Theory.
Theory & Event 21 (4), 844-864.

Beyond the Myth of the Nietzschean Ideal-Type, European Journal of Philosophy 25 (3).


The Rise of Politics and Morality in Nietzsche's "Genealogy": From Chaos to Conscience (2020) by Jeffrey Metzger, The Review of Politics (firstonline). 

Nietzsche's Great Politics (2017) by Hugo Drochon, Contemporary Political Theory 16 (4). 



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