Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Structure and Genealogy of Perversion in Contemporary Philosophy, Politics, and Art

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.10.00  Humanities  Philosophy   

Code Science Field
6.03  Humanities  Philosophy, Ethics and Religion 
Contemporary Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Perversion, Structure, Genealogy, Power, Pornology, Art
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on March 3, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  179  103  88  0.49 
Scopus  166  241  221  1.33 
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  30790  PhD Rok Benčin  Philosophy  Researcher  2020 - 2024  195 
2.  22569  PhD Aleš Bunta  Humanities  Researcher  2020 - 2024  80 
3.  11486  PhD Marina Gržinić Mauhler  Philosophy  Researcher  2020 - 2024  1,699 
4.  13472  PhD Peter Klepec  Philosophy  Researcher  2020 - 2024  288 
5.  56261  Rok Kljajič  Law  Researcher  2023  17 
6.  33358  PhD Boštjan Nedoh  Philosophy  Head  2020 - 2024  135 
7.  02155  PhD Radivoj Riha  Philosophy  Researcher  2020 - 2021  325 
8.  06397  PhD Jelica Šumič Riha  Philosophy  Researcher  2020 - 2024  373 
9.  28442  PhD Tadej Troha  Philosophy  Researcher  2020 - 2024  272 
10.  11158  PhD Alenka Zupančič Žerdin  Philosophy  Researcher  2020 - 2024  422 
11.  53500  PhD Marisa Žele  Philosophy  Researcher  2023 - 2024  26 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,542 
Perversion, in its popular image, is usually related to explicitly subjective, personal modes of enjoyment. According to this widespread image, the obscene acts or deeds that one can continuously observe in populist figures such as Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and many others, but also in the figure of Francis Underwood in the popular television series House of Cards, are mostly interpreted via the perpetrators’ personal pathology or individual features, which seemingly have nothing to do with structural causes. In short, they are understood as pure excesses that “derange” the supposedly normal functioning of power and democratic social order. Lacan’s psychoanalysis, however, has taught us that perversion is a much more ambiguous phenomenon and that it is based on a structural “non-personal” enjoyment. Usually a pervert assumes the role of an “executioner”, a “professional”, who carefully and meticulously executes his or her task and mission. In this sense, the figure of perversion can represent an interesting and productive entry for questioning the way in which contemporary power and the social bond actually work. We can see thereby how a critique of power that primarily points out its subjective “abuses” is too short and does not really address the systemic violence presupposed by the normal and professional functioning of power, as well as the systemic enjoyment generated by its own inner contradictions. In opposition to the predominant a-structural thinking of perverse phenomena, the proposed project will intervene in the debate from a radically opposed perspective. By relying on a particularly rich heritage of contemporary philosophical treatments of perversion, which can be found in the works of Foucault, Deleuze, Bataille, Klossowski, Agamben, and, despite a completely different approach, also in Freud, Lacan, and Žižek, the project will try to show that the perversion in phenomena such as the obscenities of populist leaders, everyday voyeuristic or exhibitionist practices in social media, reality shows, etc., is definitively not reducible to some personal traits or styles, but primarily is 1) a structure, which 2) enables insight into the way power relations and the social bond work today. In doing so, the project will attempt to take a decisive and systematic step towards thinking of perversion as an immanent philosophical concept which is founded on its structural dimension. For these purposes, the proposed project will take as its point of departure two key contemporary philosophical currents of thought or approaches to perversion. There are important differences between the two; however, they agree on the fundamental point in thinking perversion as a structure exceeding individual pathology. We will call the first approach epistemic; it departs from the broader Nietzschean genealogical perspective and can be found primarily in Foucault and Deleuze, but one can also find it in Giorgio Agamben. We will call the second approach diagnostic; it departs from Freud’s psychoanalysis and culminates in Lacan and Žižek. One of the first novelties introduced by the proposed project in contemporary philosophical debates on perversion and analyses of power/the social bond is an emphasis on the complementarity of both approaches, while their irreconcilable differences will not be neglected, of course. The second novelty introduced by the proposed project is to broaden and further develop the very conceptualisation of perversion through 1) an analysis of the relation between perversion and power; 2) an analysis of logic, discursive structures, and manifestations of perversions in “pornologic art” and similar cultural rituals, which have been mostly neglected or overlooked; however, they are crucial for a conceptualisation of perversion as a structure. In doing so, the project will systematically and in an original manner enrich the existing set of philosophical studies of perversion.
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