Finland, Helsinki

Rhetoric-performative, Post-foundational Analysis in Social Sciences and Humanities

when 7 August 2018 - 23 August 2018
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 5 ECTS
fee EUR 990

This intensive course provides a consistent frame – post-foundational political thought – for students to approach some of the most pressing questions of our era. These include democracy, populism, political violence, economic violence, gender, climate change and identity politics.

With emphasis on rhetoric and performativity, post-foundational political thought can be useful for the social sciences and humanities to tackle issues in the ‘post-truth’, ‘post-factual’ era, marked by fluidity of identifications and populism.

Rather than taking political concepts at face value, the course suggests that the focus should shift to the ways in which the meaning-making takes place through contingent concepts, discourses and structures we inhabit. The rhetoric-performative approach allows us to engage with various phenomena.

Through in-class discussions, group work, excursions and guest lectures, the course will enable the participants to start using insights from this strand of continental political philosophy in the study of contemporary political issues. Teaching will be composed of lectures and seminars as well as workshops with researchers at the University of Helsinki.

The students will learn about different forms of post-foundational thinking, and get to explore the ways in which it can be combined with various research techniques. The course will introduce the works of authors such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Claude Lefort, Jean-Luc Nancy, Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau, as central to this approach.

Course leader

Emilia Palonen & Taavi Sundell

Target group

MA/PhD level students. BA degree or previous knowledge of research methods and research practice required.

Course aim

The course introduces post-foundational thinking and the related perspectives of conceptual analysis, post-structural discourse theory, interpretive political analysis and discourse theory. The broader aim is to learn how to use a theoretical approach in research in social and political sciences.

As the outcome of the course, students will learn how to use post-foundational theory in actual research contexts, whether engaging with theoretical or empirical research. The students will be able to establish the differences between these approaches within the field of post-foundational theory, and assess their usefulness in particular research projects. With the help of teachers on the course and the final project they will also accumulate more in-depth knowledge on their chosen approach and topic of research.

Fee info

EUR 990: Degree and PhD students
EUR 1490: Professionals

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