Alexander Stagnell

Alexander Stagnell
Université Libre de Bruxelles | ULB · Groupe de recherche en rhétorique et en argumentation linguistique

Doctor of Philosophy
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Rhetoric funded by The Swedish Research Council.

About

17
Publications
333
Reads
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7
Citations
Introduction
I am currently working on the project "The Return of the Sophists? Democracy, Rhetoric, and Post-Truth in the Populis Moment" intended to investigate the sophist and the populist as figures in contemporary political thought as a way of understanding the present state of democracy. My personal website: https://stagnell.com
Additional affiliations
April 2022 - present
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Position
  • Junior Researcher
Description
  • Part of the 2022 Residency Programme at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
August 2021 - December 2021
Södertörn University
Position
  • Postdoc
Description
  • Research funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies.
August 2019 - July 2021
Södertörn University
Position
  • Senior Lecturer
Education
September 2012 - April 2019
Uppsala University
Field of study
  • Rhetoric

Publications

Publications (17)
Article
In this article, I take on the question concerning the relationship between language and reality in Barbara Cassin’s philosophistry. More specifically, I am focusing on her interpretation of Jacques Lacans reading of Democritus atomism and heridea that the atom and the void are sophistic creations which, at the same time, follows and avoid the logi...
Article
Abstract Rhetoric and diplomacy shares something we might call the problem of representation, arising out of the difficulties to ever accurately represent something. In the article, this joint problem is approached through an investigation into its different solutions, taking us from Plato’s and Aristotle’s critique of the sophists, through Demosth...
Chapter
In the case of Stephen Keyter, one can read his ideology as symptomatic of the hystericizing discourse of the Master, explaining his numerous attempts to confront girlfriends and colleagues alike. Once gathered together, the differences registered in the text show the movement from Keyter to the Ambassador –– that is, the shift in narrative perspec...
Chapter
If by the end of the eighteenth century the name diplomacy constituted the foundation for a post-revolutionary archi-politics –– thus turning diplomacy into a figure for an anti-democratic democracy by denying the problem of the rabble –– then this tale surrounding the origins of proper diplomacy seemed, from its very inception, to be haunted by it...
Chapter
Ideology enters the picture in the same moment as the Master Signifier externalizes the immanent antagonism, when the gap is explained through a fantasy relating the subject to its fantasmatic object. The understanding of ideology is thus clearly far removed from the traditional Marxist conception. No other theoretical development during the twenti...
Chapter
Following Zizek, the main difference distinguishing a post-political ideological configuration from one that operates through repression or disavowal is that, in the case of the former, no symptom can return within its existing symbolic field. This is owing to the fact that the founding antagonism is rejected in toto and not just denied or disavowe...
Chapter
The coining of diplomacy allowed for the first proper separation of politics into a foreign and a domestic branch. While these practices, up until the French Revolution, had both been referred to as politics, the naming seems to imply that both of them now contained what seemed to be separate social links. While subjects under an absolute monarchy...
Chapter
Most notably, the notion of an Ideological State Apparatus seems out of place in the realm of international politics since, at least in the traditional Marxist understanding, a state apparatus constitutes the “execution and intervention ‘in the interests of the ruling classes’ in the class struggle conducted by the bourgeoisie and its allies agains...
Chapter
Beginning with the sixteenth century Renaissance portraitist Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors, the goal was to capture the ways in which not only contemporary Diplomacy Studies but also its forerunners have tried to formulate the limits of diplomacy and the challenges facing this field. However, even this ultra-political fantasy eventually f...
Book
This book argues that diplomacy, which emerged out of the French Revolution, has become one of the central ideological state apparatuses of the modern democratic nation-state. The book is divided into four thematic parts. The first presents the central concepts and theoretical perspectives derived from the work of Slavoj Žižek, focusing on his und...
Chapter
Kant’s reflections on state-to-state relationships have played an important part in the field of International Relations ever since its formation as a sub-field of Political Science during the first half of the twentieth century. Although it is possible to find what can be considered comments on diplomacy and foreign policy scattered across his pol...
Chapter
Diplomacy has traditionally been assumed to have its origins in Ancient Greece, most notably because of the role that envoys or ambassadors supposedly played, both in creating and solving the problem of the relationship between city-states. Despite this early reflection on the responsibilities of an envoy, it would take another 2000 years for a con...
Chapter
In his 1998 book Diplomacy for the Next Century, the Israeli diplomat and academic Abba Eban argued that, formally speaking, the Cold War came to an end neither with the fall of the Berlin Wall nor with the collapse of Soviet Union, but rather with the treaty between NATO and Russia, signed in Paris on May 27th, 1997. The same pattern has seemingly...
Article
This essay seeks to approach the current tensions within the European Union through the lens of the philosophy on perpetual peace. Beginning with Kant’s pamphlet On Perpetual Peace and his depiction of it as “an infinite process of gradual approximation”, the text moves through Hegel’s concept of the necessity of war in order to develop an understa...
Article
This article approaches the problem of post-truth and the opposition between philosophical dialectics and sophistic rhetoric. The antagonism is addressed through a reading of Žižek's depiction of the ongoing discussion between Alain Badiou and Barbara Cassin, the “new version of the ancient dialogue between Plato and the sophists,” as stained by se...
Book
The principal aim of this dissertation is to answer the age-old question What is diplomacy? But this study approaches the question in what might, on first look, appear oblique. By employing Slavoj Žižek’s reworked notion of Ideologiekritik with respect to the history, science, and artistic explorations of diplomacy, this work begins by extracting t...
Article
This text aims at investigating the possible effects that Cassin’s rereading of the battle between the philosophers and the sophist might have on the contemporary understanding of the connection between rhetoric and the political. Through her critique of Plato and Aristotle the conflict between Philosophy and Sophistics is perceived as one regardin...

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
The aim is to develop an understanding of the state of contemporary democracy focusing on the threat that the eloquent speaker poses to the people as sovereign. Today, both the political left and right claim that democracy is under constant pressure from populist demagogues and sophistic ideologues misleading the people to further their own agenda. However, rather than constituting a novelty, the history of this threatening figure is riveted to that of democracy itself. The latest iteration of this theme can be traced back to the late 60s, where these issues were once again formulated in academia under two different headings: populism and sophistry. While populism appears as a problem in the practical political world, thus offering itself up to be studied by the empirical sciences, the sophist as a figure in democracy asks slightly different questions. Already in Antiquity, the political threat embodied in the sophist seems to provoke democracy on a fundamental level, forcing us to question what is in politics, what we can know, and what we can say about it. Rather than offering another attempt to uncover the nature of populism and its threat to democracy, the aim is to trace the other side of this history, focusing on the sophist in contemporary political thought. By tracing how political thought has approached this figure since the 60s, the project will develop an understanding of our populist moment and what it can tell us of the state of democracy in the post-truth era.
Project
This project aims at investigating so-called post-communist communism as it is developed by members of the Ljubljana School of Psychoanalysis. Headed by self-admitted communist Slavoj Žižek, the School represents an attempt to attain what today appears as an impossible position: to critique historically existing communism in Eastern Europe, while still retaining the communist idea in a time where the left seems unable to offer any alternative to the worldview of capitalism besides a so-called ostalgie of failed revolutions. The study will provide insights into the Schools analysis of the communist legacy in Eastern Europe as well as its view on the more general question of the actualization of political ideas. The project will employ the theory and method of rhetorical history inspired by Hegelian Begriffsgeschichte, focusing on how the concept of communism is rhetorically formed through the school’s analysis of the concept’s historical actualization in Eastern Europe and through their critique of our present ailments, relating it to their thoughts concerning the nature of the political idea. The material will consist of published work by scholars connected to the school, in particular its intellectual leader Slavoj Žižek. This analysis allows us to move from the particularity of the actual attempts (and failures) to actualize communism in Eastern Europe to the general perspective of the nature and function of political ideas.