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Deconstruction as Critical Method in Political Theory

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DECON (Deconstruction as Critical Method in Political Theory)

Reporting period: 2019-07-15 to 2021-07-14

Deconstruction offers a rich source as critique and as a method for political theory. This project, ‘Deconstruction as Critical Method in Political Theory’ (DECON), explored the critical potential of deconstruction for five key concepts in political theory: democracy, representation, rights, sovereignty and populism, and systematized (as far as that is possible) deconstruction as a methodological and theoretical framework for political theory. This is important because these are concepts that we use regularly in political debates as well as in academic circles. My contribution has been to offer a new way to analyze discourses on democracy, representation, rights, sovereignty and populism. The overall objective was to show how a deconstructive reading opens up new ways of thinking about political concepts and, thus, new ways of acting politically. More concretely, the objective was to write a number of papers, some of which together make up a draft book manuscript for a research monograph.
The work was carried out in the political theory research group in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH). The main bulk of the work consisted in reading and writing, but I have also spent time presenting work, and engaging with others' work, at research seminars (primarily at UCPH) and workshops and conferences. I produced a paper for a journal article (R&R, awaiting acceptance), one chapter on deconstruction and democracy for an edited collection (accepted), two chapters on Derrida and representation (for a future research monography on Derrida and representation), and a draft book manuscript for a research monograph, tentatively entitled Provisional Deconstruction: Jacques Derrida, Method, and Political Theory. This is in addition to occasional pieces for a general audience and two book reviews, a book review symposium, a reply, various professional development courses, and acting as a reviewer for journals, publishers, funding agencies and the like. During the Fellowship, I have also acted as external examiner at the University of Birmingham, co-edited a book series (with Routledge), set up a new book series (with Edinburgh University Press), and co-convened the ECPR Standing Group on Political Representation. I submitted seven funding applications, two of which was successful.

I was also promoted to full professor (Professor of Politics) by 1 October 2020 at my home institution, Queen Mary University of London. I was on unpaid leave from my position at Queen Mary, where I was promoted. I did not work there during the MCCA.

Several planned events, including a research workshop at UCPH and a research stay at ACU in Sydney, had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis. I also had to cancel the book manuscript workshop, but I instead organized it as separate, online meetings with discussants. The Covid-19 crisis also meant that I could not work at the office for long periods and instead had to work at home, which was difficult due to poor working space and closure of schools.
Apart from occasional pieces for a general audience and the two book reviews, the other papers have not been published (yet). A book chapter has been accepted for an edited volume to be published with Cambridge University Press. A paper is a Revise & Resubmit with a journal, and I resubmitted that in late September 2021. The draft book manuscript will be submitted to publishers at a later stage (as expected) once I have revised it on the basis of the feedback gained through the book manuscript workshops I held in June-July 2021.