Markku Koivusalo

.“Interrete ergo sum”

Markku

I am an adjunct professor (the title of Docent) at the University of Helsinki and have taught over twenty years mainly political theory and philosophy, but also other courses and seminars on political science, world politics, administrative studies and methodology of social sciences.

I studied political science, sociology, and philosophy at the University of Helsinki (1988-1995) and University of Edinburgh (1991-1992). I started publishing refereed articles already as a student, and the subject of my award-winning master thesis (1995) was cartography of western biopolitics. After graduation, I started to teach in the University and participated in numerous research projects, finally earning a doctorate (2012) with a thesis on Michel Foucault’s system of thought.

However, I am not Foucault scholar, which indeed would be a paradoxical vocation in the case of a thinker declaring the death of the author. As Foucault and Marx Weber, I am mainly interested in the occidental systems of thought and rationalisations. For even Weber claimed that the fate of the scientific vocation is strict specialisation, his scientific pathos worked against this fate by exploring the overall historical conditions of the occidental rationality and the conduct of life. I have also tried to fight against the fate of the specialisation and instead gain as broad, comprehensive and plural perspective on the human actions and to our common world as it is possible.

In addition to politics and philosophy, my theoretical competencies are comprehensive and interdisciplinary.  I have been visiting teacher in the departments of sociology, social politics, jurisprudence, religious studies, as also lectured in art universities (University of Arts Helsinki and Aalto University: The School of Arts, Design and Architecture) and adult education institutions (Open University, Critical Academy, Finnish Adult Education Centre).

See my Teaching Portfolio.

Besides academic teaching, I have been extraordinarily active in academic associations and publishing. I have been over twenty years in the executive board of the Finnish Researcher Association, which I directed ten years (2005-2015), and had also worked as a consultant for other publishing houses.

Research profile

My research profile is broad but at the same time focused on the question of “systems of thinking” and political rationalisations and conceptualisations. My main interest is to investigate how politics and the sphere of the political is conceptualised and how the political and the administrative thought-patterns are historically structured in western political experience and practices of power directing the conduct of men.

What are the relations of different historically embedded thought-patterns and power practices to the scientific, economic, artist and religious, historical systems of thought?

What are the political and power consequences of the different systems of thought?

For me, this general research question forms the problem of politico-historical anthropology.

Methodologically, I combine philosophical and conceptual questions to historical and social research. The method differs both from the political philosophy (practised as normative moral philosophy) as from the political science (practised in the form of unreflective positive studies) by bringing the critical and conceptual reflection to the political sphere without a priori moral commitments.

Under this general approach, I have written and lectured extensively on ancient and modern political thought and theory, most intensively on the political thought of Hannah ArendtLeo StraussCarl SchmittMax WeberMichel Foucault, and Giorgio Agamben, but also on Walter BenjaminGilles Deleuze and continental political philosophy.

My longstanding background project is, in fact, a massive and slightly hubristic History of systems of political thought, which I started already in the middle of 1990s when teaching the history of European political thought in the University.

Recently I have also become interested in the modern political ideologies (liberalism, socialism, nationalism, conservatism) understood as politically interrelated and historical changing thought patterns and systems, which had created their political interpretations on the three fundamental political values of occidental modernity: Liberty, Equality, and Solidarity.

In the case of conservatism, I worked in the academy project investigating the intellectual heritage of the radical cultural conservatism and have prepared projects on the political philosophy of nationalism and crisis of liberalism.

See my Research Portfolio

Some of my recent lectures, talks, articles can be found from the Current -section.

 

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