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Dr Simon Townsend


My main area of research centers on Friedrich Nietzsche's political philosophy. Currently, my primary focus lies in deciphering Nietzsche's underlying assertions regarding political states. This includes their origin, as well as their periods of decline and decadence. I'm delving into the intricate relationship between political states and what Nietzsche refers to as 'higher individuals.' These individuals are not only a product of certain types of states but often serve as the driving force behind the emergence of strong states.
Additionally, I write about the philosophies and political theories of several Nietzschean thinkers from the twentieth century, such as Georges Bataille and Michel Foucault. This encompasses their interpretations of Nietzsche's work and their broader philosophical contributions. My interests extend to contemporary agonistic democracy, encompassing both Nietzschean and non-Nietzschean perspectives. This area of study emphasizes the inevitability of conflict among social groups and the necessity of handling this conflict through democratic means.
I have organized various Master's level modules that primarily delve into the writings of Nietzsche and Foucault, particularly focusing on their perspectives on politics, power, and ethics. I also serve as the convenor for a first-year module called "Power and Democracy," which introduces students to significant strands of contemporary democratic theory. This includes competitive elitism, participatory democracy, deliberative democracy, and agonistic democracy.

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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