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Revolt, revolution, critique: the paradox of society

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook


Publication date2012
Place of publicationLondon
Number of pages204
ISBN (Print)9780415495448
Original languageEnglish


Most significant problems of contemporary life have their origins in nihilism and its paradoxical logic, which is simultaneously destructive to and constitutive of society. Yet, in social theory, nihilism is a surprisingly under-researched topic.
This book develops a systematic account of nihilism in its four main forms: escapism, radical nihilism, passive nihilism and active nihilism. It especially focuses on the disjunctive synthesis between passive nihilism (the negation of the will) and radical nihilism (the will to negation), between the hedonism/disorientation that characterizes the contemporary post-political culture and the emerging forms of despair and violence as a reaction to it.
The book consists of three parts. Part I deals with the historical significance of nihilism. Part II focuses on the social topology and the literary and cinematic spaces of nihilism. Part III links the first two parts together by elaborating on the possibilities of overcoming nihilism.