Lecture Dr. Simon Susen - “A Seductive Force of ‘Noumenal Power’: A New Path (or Impasse) for Critical Theory?”

19-04-2018 from 12:30 to 14:00
Meeting Room Dean John Vincke, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences - Korte Meer 5 (ground floor), Ghent
Department of Conflict and Development Studies
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The main purpose of this paper is to examine Rainer Forst’s account of ‘noumenal power’. Forst’s proposal for a revised ‘critical theory of power’ is firmly embedded in his philosophical understanding of ‘the right to justification’. Whereas the latter has been extensively discussed in the secondary literature, the former has – with the exception of various exchanges that have taken place between Forst and his critics at academic conferences – received little attention. This paper is an attempt to fill this gap in the literature. Given the increasing influence of Forst’s scholarly writings on paradigmatic developments in contemporary critical theory, it is imperative to scrutinize the key assumptions underlying his conception of ‘noumenal power’ and to assess its usefulness for overcoming the shortcomings of alternative explanatory frameworks.


Simon Susen is Reader in Sociology at City, University of London. Before joining City in 2011, he held lectureships at Birkbeck, University of London (2010–2011), Newcastle University (2008–2010), and Goldsmiths, University of London (2007–2008). He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2007. Prior to that, he studied sociology, politics, and philosophy at a range of international universities and research centres— including the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the Colegio de México, the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Mexico City, and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is Associate Member of the Bauman Institute and, together with Bryan S. Turner, Editor of the Journal of Classical Sociology.