Frank Ejby Poulsen

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9 years 21 weeks

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History of Political Thought, Political Theory, International Relations, Politics
University of Copenhagen
Department of Political Science
Town / City
Previous Universities
University of Panthéon-Sorbonne Paris I
Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, Patriotism, Enlightenment, Theory of International Relations, Foucault, Sovereignty

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Member for
9 years 21 weeks

I have written a master's thesis entitled "Element of an Archaeology of Cosmopolitanism in Western Political Thought: a Return to the French Enlightenment, 1713-1795."

The research question is: "how did cosmopolitanism enter Western political thought alongside (inter)nationalism and universalism?" To answer this question my research is using Foucault's archaeology analysing the discourse of cosmopolitanism, but mixed with "contextualism" in order to avoid anachronistic "myths" on "perenial problems" in the history of political thought. As such I first analysed the contemporary discourse of cosmopolitanism in order to break it down into "objects," "concepts," "strategies," and "statements" ("énoncés"), around a certain "problematisation" that is provides the relevance of past "problematisations" to a "history of the present." I then analyse the pre-nationalist era of political thought, using contextualism and especially Pocock's analyses of vocabulary and Skinner's conceptions of language and meaning. My findings are that a hitherto considered nationalist vocabulary -- the nation, the patrie -- was formulated in cosmopolitan terms at the time. My thesis is that several discourses including the one of humanism, natural law, and anti-absolutism, converged to develop a new vocabulary around a new political theoretical framework aimed at placing morality on top of politics. Ultimately it allowed such revolutionary actors/thinkers to state that patriotism had no boundaries, and that the only nation known to Nature was humankind, thus constituting a single universal (and not French) Republic of free and equal men.

I am currently looking for any research related jobs in order to boost my credentials as a serious Ph.D. candidate to continue my research on the history of cosmopolitanism widening the time framework (18th + 19th century) and/or the space framework (France + Great Britain/USA, Germany/Prussia).

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