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Dionysus against the Crucified: Nietzsche, Sovereignty, and the Power of Nihilism

ROWE, ADAM,ROBERT (2023) Dionysus against the Crucified: Nietzsche, Sovereignty, and the Power of Nihilism. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Is international law nihilistic? Being produced from nihilism and driven by it? And are even we nihilistic – we Critical scholars who stand beyond the end of history? Not a break from the past but a continuation?
That is the gambit of this thesis: to explore the nihilistic inner life of international law, through the root and stem of its creation and development, right up until the contemporary movement towards Critical approaches to the discipline. Through the embracing scope of nihilism, I argue that each of these turns and evolutions can be tracked back to a single logic.
The first Volume of this thesis is dedicated to the theorisation of nihilism and how it could be existentially connected to international law. Using the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, I link nihilism to what I term the ‘civilising psychosis’: a process (or sickness) by which the production of the human and the state is co-constitutive. Through this bond, it becomes possible to argue that the structures of nihilism, and the civilising psychosis, frame and condition the development of legal concepts.
In Volume II, I take the civilising psychosis and apply it to the creation of the European global order of sovereign states. Here I suggest that transformations within sovereignty doctrine have been devices of managing and rearticulating the civilising psychosis. Applying literary techniques, this Volume takes the form of a ‘A play in three acts’. Within it, I follow the civilising psychosis, first, in the domestic generation of sovereignty, through to the use of sovereignty in 19th century imperialism, before bringing the civilising excesses of this latter period into confrontation with Critical scholarship. Through the violence of this encounter, I intend to begat recognition and disorientation. Rather than marking a departure from the civilising psychosis, such scholarships could be its most visceral manifestation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Nietzsche, Sovereignty, International Law
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Jul 2023 12:11

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