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  • The despotic imperative: From Hiero to the circle 

    Authors:Diken, Bülent
    Publisher and Date:(Duke University Press, 2019)
    The article thematizes the actuality of despotism through a double reading of Xenophon’s Hiero and Dave Eggers’s Circle. A key text on despotism, Hiero is interesting to reconsider in a contemporary context because of its explicit focus on the economic element in the nexus of despotism, economy, and voluntary servitude. Discussing this nexus in an ancient context, the article turns to The Circle, a dystopic novel from 2013, which elaborates on how the attempt at creating a transparent society ...

  • Neo-Despotism as Anti-Despotism 

    Authors:Diken, Bülent
    Publisher and Date:(Sage Publications, 2021)
    I treat despotism as a virtual concept. Thus it is necessary to expose its actualizations even when it appears as its opposite, refusing to recognize itself as despotism. I define despotism initially as arbitrary rule, in terms of a monstrous transgression of the law. But since the monster is grounded in its very formlessness, it cannot be demonstrated. However, one can always try to de-monstrate it through disagreements. In doing this, I deal with despotism not as a solipsistic undertaking but ...