My research uses the concept of decadence as an analytical tool to interrogate historical critiques of liberal modernity and asks:
How has liberal modernity, as a field of experience, been made into a problem by diagnoses of decadence and what solutions are put forward to remediate the problems identified by these diagnoses?
Situated within Political Science and IR scholarship, my research adopts an interdisciplinary outlook, drawing inspiration from other disciplines having theorised decadence, such as History, Philosophy, Art or Literature, to see what this concept can teach us about power, order, and governance in the context of liberal modernity.
Discourses using the concept of decadence formulate ethical claims about the viability of societies, producing statements about the ethical attributes that make societies flourish or perish. As these discourses produce normative critiques of a given society, they also contain the ‘antidotes’, i.e. the adequate norms to overcome decadence. Decadence discourses can be understood as producing doomed realities, while also providing their solutions. Thus, by generating utopias to contrast a dystopian present, decadence discourses can be seen as challenging a particular order and rewriting power relations in a radical way.
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