Viktoria Huegel

Viktoria Huegel

Research Student


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Research interests

I am a PhD researcher in Political Theory in the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics (CAPPE) in the School of Humanities. My project is funded by University of Brighton Doctoral Studentship.

 Together with Harrison Lechley, I co-founded and edited Interfere: Journal for Critical Thought & Radical Politics. For the inaugural issue, I interviewed Judith Butler on her recent book “The Force of Nonviolence.” I have presented my work at specialized conferences in Augsburg, Galway, Brighton and during my research visit at University of California, Berkeley. I also organized a number of funded conferences and workshops in the England, Germany and the US on questions of democratic theory, including challenges of immigration and far-right extremism.

I am a doctoral tutor at the School of Law, Politics & Sociology, University of Sussex, and have taught modules in Philosophy, Social and Political Theory, and Criminology. 

 My doctoral research project investigates the notion of political authority. Over the course of the work, I conceptualize political leadership proper to democratic regimes and distinguish it from authoritarian forms. My work responds to a lack of a conceptual space for political authority in contemporary democratic thought. Without such a concept, I argue, we are not able to grasp and resist current authoritarian trends in liberal democratic regime. Furthermore, I contend that political authority provides democratic thought with the vocabulary to engage critically political categories such as the state; leadership; and institutions; whilst at the same time recognizing their hierarchical and inegalitarian structures. 

For my project, I focus on the thought of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt, engaging post-structuralist critique (Jacques Derrida, Cedric Robinson, Bonnie Honig) to draw out a radical post-foundationalism in their work. I argue that both Schmitt and Arendt take Weber’s critique of authority further; whilst Schmitt, however, ultimately abandons the notion of authority for decisionism, Arendt recognizes its significance and provides a modern reconceptualization of authority. 

 More broadly, my research is concerned with the structural order of democratic regimes, including institutions and political leadership, and its relation to radical democratic thought and resistance. I am intrigued by the conceptual limits of political categories such as democracy, authoritarianism and totalitarianism. My expertise covers post-foundational political thought in the 20th century in Germany – particularly also the thought of Martin Heidegger – and France – particularly Jacques Derrida and Jacques Rancière. 

I am looking to develop further my critique of charismatic leadership, which draws on Cedric Robinson and Erica R. Edwards, to investigate the role of the leader in populist movements. Furthermore, during my research visit at University of California, Berkeley, I studied the work of Freud and Lacan under Prof Mary Ann Doane. I want to connect this to feminist theories of relationality and refusal (Adriana Cavarero, Bonnie Honig and Judith Butler) to critically engage with the patriarchal authority and order. 



Education/Academic qualification

Master, Democracy on the shores of politics: A critique of Arendt’s idea of democracy, University of Brighton

1 Oct 201530 Sept 2016

Award Date: 1 Dec 2016

Bachelor, Von der Angst, fremd zu sein…Flüchtlingspolitik & das Gut der Zugehörigkeit im Lichte von Michael Walzers Gerechtigkeitstheorie , Heidelberg University 

1 Oct 20111 Jul 2015

Award Date: 1 Jul 2015

Visiting Student Researcher, University of California at Berkeley

1 Sept 201913 Dec 2019

Visiting Student

1 Aug 20131 Jun 2014

External positions

School Tutor, University of Sussex

1 Oct 2018 → …

School Tutor, University of Brighton

1 Oct 20171 Jul 2018

School Tutor

1 Oct 20136 Jan 2014

Research assistant , Heidelberg University 

31 Oct 20011 Jul 2015


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