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Emotional Democracy


Professor dr. Josef Früchtl & dr. Natalie Scholz

Members of the research group

  • dr. R. Celikates
  • prof. dr. J. Früchtl
  • T.J. de Groot MA
  • dr. J.F. Hartle
  • dr. A. van Rooden
  • prof. dr. K.E. Röttger
  • dr. N. scholz

External Members

  • prof. J. MacDonald Jasper (City Univ. New York)
  • dr. C. Bottici (New School New York)
  • prof. T. van Rahden (Univ. de Montréal)
  • prof. dr. M. Saar (Univ. Leipzig)
  • dr. F. Raimondi (Univ. Frankfurt/M.)
  • Zhang Zhongtao joins the group from October 10, 2017 – April 10, 2018. Zhang Zhongtao is a PhD student in philosophy from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou (PR China), working on the relationship between aesthetics, ethics, and politics, especially against the background of Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, and Albrecht Wellmer.

Other participants: The research group is open for additional researchers, ReMa students, and people from practical politics.

Description of the research programme of the research group

The project brings together a group of scholars and research students, and in the long run representative practitioners as well (not forgetting that in a non-representative sense we are all practitioners here), from diverse disciplines (Philosophy, History, Sociology, Political Science, Media Studies, Theater Studies) who are interested in the analysis of the fundamental and complicated relationship between democracy (as a form of life more than a form of government) and emotions. One central focus of he project is the connection between emotional democracy and aesthetic culture. In times of “globalization” this connection is getting more urgent under the name of “post-democracy”. In the 18th century it was discussed under the notions of “critique”, “taste”, “judgement”, and “common sense”. From this perspective talking of “civil passions” or “the sentimental citizen” is not a misconceived ideal of Romanticism but a well-understood ideal of Enlightenment.

Envisaged results

The research group has started its work in March 2013 with a first international workshop brainstorming on the topic, and a smaller one at the NIAS (Nederlands Institute for Advanced Study, Wassenaar). Meanwhile four workshops did take place, accompanied by several meetings of the local reading group. Part of the project was also the international conference “Global Adorno” in 2016. In 2018 we plan to organize an international conference in Amsterdam, and we want to publish the best papers in anthology.

Work plan and time schedule

Running from 2013 to 2018.



  • Introduction of the Project, UvA, March 1, 2013;
  • NIAS (Wassenaar), Mai 7, 2013, with a lecture of James Jasper (City University New York);
  • UvA, November 8 & 9, 2013, with a lecture of Chiara Bottici (New School for Social Research, New York) & Miguel Beistegue (University of Warwick);
  • UvA, December 10, 2014, with a presentation of Natalie Scholz.
  • UvA, March 21-23, 2016: International conference on “Global Adorno” (organized together with J.F. Hartle)
  • UvA, October 20, 2017 "Shame and Citizenship in Democracy" (with Sally Munt, Sussex/GB, and Jill Locke, Gustavus Adolphus College/USA)

Research fellowship:

  •  Josef Fruchtl was awarded a research fellowship on the subject: "Emotional Democracy - an Aesthetic Approach" at the IFK (Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften) in Vienna/University of the Arts in Linz from March to July, 2015 (


  • Josef Früchtl, (together with Natalie Scholz) “Emotional Democracy in Practice”, in: Krisis. Journal for contemporary philosophy, issue 1, 2015: “Perspectives for the new university”, pp. 35-42
  • “Gosto e democracia das emocoes”, in: Verlaine Freitas et. al. (Orgs.): Gosto, Interpretacao &  Crítica, Vol. 1, Belo Horizonte 2014, pp. 113-128. 
  • “’Vengeance is Mine.’ Heroes from the Movie-Powerhouse of Emotions”, in: Aesthetic Investigations, Vol. 1 (2015), No. 1, pp. 145-155.
  • Josef Früchtl, “Het is doen alsof. Esthetische ervaring en politiek onder de condities van de moderne tijd”, in: Sybrandt van Keulen (red.), Hoe kunst en filosofie werken, Amsterdam: Boom 2014, pp.133-148.

Societal relevance

(This should be self-evident.)

This research group is active in the following constellations: