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Philosophy - Danemark

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Research topics


The Anthropocene as a cosmological turn

As urgent as it may be, the discussion of global warming as the greatest ever threat to human civilization is but one example that the overall ‘climate’ on Earth is changing to such an extent that survival is at risk. This issue should be understood within the wider context of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is an overarching framework for understanding the significance of climate change, population growth, environmental strains and other global Grand Challenges. Thus, it is arguably among the most important and wide-ranging questions of our time
To argue this, the project will write a philosophically informed interdisciplinary monograph on the Anthropocene as a historic turning point to comprehend the Anthropocene at a broader conceptual and existential level. The outcome is an informed determination of the Anthropocene predicament and its implications for human life on Earth.

The Anthropocene forms the common denominator for a wide array of realizations that an all-decisive threshold in the history of the Earth and humankind is being crossed: Human activities are gaining overarching importance and are beginning to play a dominant role in many key processes of the earth system. This alters the material conditions of subsistence for human beings so radically that the ground on which they have stood is quaking. Our very existence and being, position and role in the world, and our perception of ourselves are at stake.

The project argues that a previously unexperienced, intimate and precarious relationship between humankind and the Earth is established which existing literature fails to recognize insofar as it maintains a sharp divide between human beings and nature. The close interaction between humans and earthly nature that constitutes both implies a new conception of the order of the world and of the role of humans within it. This change in cosmology affects the relationship between scientific disciplines, politics and morality.

Activities / Resume


Sverre Raffnsøe is Professor of Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School and editor-in-chief of the international journal Foucault Studies. He is the author of books and articles on aesthetics, social philosophy, management and governance, critical and cultural theory, and recent French and German philosophy.
While aesthetics and art, aesthetic autonomy and the theory of judgment, rule-following, law and the linguistic turn evinced an abiding interest in early career, a privileged research focus since the turn of the millennium has been the structuring of social reality and human interaction. The aim is to articulate a structuring which has come into being socially and has a prescriptive effect, yet in such a manner that this relational structure reveals a certain tendency or disposition towards particular kinds of social outcome and thus leaves room for freedom and ongoing further temporal development.
The approach to human (inter/intra)action has been applied within an analysis of processes of governance, learning, value creation, creativity and subjectivation, even as it formed a starting point for the discussion of power and trust; welfare, happiness and prosperity; economy, gift economy and social exchange; as well as for the understanding of the present social bond, the management of self-management and for the structuration of freedom.

While these centres of interest remain, as is also evidenced in a forthcoming monograph on The Aesthetic Turn, additional points of investigation have been added in recent years. Among these are the role of science, the history of science and the humanities; the changing relationship between the natural and the human/social world; the changing perception of the character and ordering of the world, as well as of the place and role of human beings and the relationship between them.

The present research project The Anthropocene as a Cosmological Turn is supported by a Carlsberg Foundation Semper Ardens Monograph Fellowship.
Fellowships and visiting professorships have been granted to previous research projects by research institutions such as Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, Programme for Social Analytics & Contemporary Diagnostics, The Danish School of Education (Aarhus University) and Danish Institute of Advanced Studies.
During recent years, Sverre Raffnsøe has been Principal investigator of three major externally funded four-year research programs designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration: The Human Turn; Management of Self-management; Well-being, Self-leadership and Productivity.


  • Raffnsøe, Sverre; Gudmand-Høyer, Marius; Thaning, Morten: Michel Foucault. Research Companion. Philosophy as Diagnosis of the Present. Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2016: 511 pages.
  • Raffnsøe, Sverre: Philosophy of the Anthropocene. The Human Turn. Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2016: 96 pages.
  • Raffnsøe, Sverre; Mennicken, Andrea; Miller, Peter: “The Foucault Effect in organization studies,” journal Organization Studies, 2019, vol. 40(2) 155–182 (28 pages).
  • Staunæs, Dorthe; Raffnsøe, Sverre: “Affective pedagogies, Equine-assisted experiments and Posthuman leadership,” journal Body and Society, 2019, vol. 25, 1: pp. 57-89 (33 pages).
  • Raffnsøe, Sverre; Gudmand-Høyer, Marius; Thaning, Morten: “Philosophical practice as self-modification: An essay on Michel Foucault’s critical engagement with philosophy,” Foucault Studies, No 25, 2018: 8-54 (47 pages). DOI:
  • Raffnsøe, Sverre: “What is critique? Critical turns in the age of criticism,” journal Outlines. Critical Practice Studies 18(2) 2017: 28-50 (23 pages).
  • Raffnsøe, Sverre; Gudmand-Høyer, Marius; Thaning, Morten: “Foucault’s dispositive: The perspicacity of dispositive analytics in organizational research,” journal Organization: Vol. 23(2) 2016: 272–298 (27 pages).