Heidegger's heritage: The temporal politics of authenticity, then and now

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

For a discipline as philosophically and temporally sensitive as International Relations, it is curious that Martin Heidegger, widely considered the most important philosopher of the twentieth century, has only recently begun to receive disciplinary attention. It is also noteworthy that as IR begins to grapple with right-wing extremism, it has not addressed Heidegger’s fascist politics. Conducting a close reading of his account of existence in time, this paper argues that from his magnum opus to his final diaries, Heidegger prefigured many existentialist discussions, but his particular conceptualizations of time, temporality, and authentic Being lent political life a dangerous edge. Scrutinising both the conceptual and practical consequences of Heidegger’s thought, this paper traces key tensions in his claims that, to realize true Selfhood, we must overcome social time on the road to death. This antagonism encourages overly individuated and aggressive habits of thought and action that reject the possibilities of co-existence. We can see this in how Heidegger’s obsession with authenticity over time pushed him deeper into Nazism, and in the ways that his existential vernacular resounds through today’s right-wing renaissance. Juxtaposing authenticity, then and now, helps draw out the distinctively temporal dynamics of Heidegger’s existentialism as well as the existential politics of time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-904
JournalReview of International Studies
Issue number5
Early online date8 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • existentialism
  • Heidegger
  • Being
  • time and temporality
  • right wing
  • extremism
  • authenticity


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