Photo: Olivier Pol Michel





Rahel Süß is a political theorist and founding director of the Data Politics Lab at Humboldt-University of Berlin. She is currently working as a visiting researcher at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London.


During her stay, Rahel will continue her research on a political theory of digital democracy. A key question regards what the task of democracy has become in digital-mediated societies. Beyond demands for scaling deliberative problem-solving, she poses the problem differently. Her main contribution to contemporary debates is a conceptual framework that calls for a better understanding of digital democracy as a practice of problematisation.


In her work, Rahel explores new forms of power relations that shape possibilities for democratic renewal. Drawing on democratic theory, critical algorithms studies, and activist political theory she is currently investigating how ‘a right to disidentification’ can enhance collective self-governance in the context of automated systems. By engaging with a series of examples, from ‘the right to be forgotten’, to the project DECODE and disruptive technologies, she shows that digital democracy requires not simply adequate mechanisms of recognition but also the capacity for non-identity—for anonymity (at times)—to engage in transformative processes.


Rahel studied political science, philosophy, and sociology at the University of Vienna and Charles University in Prague and held visiting and research positions at Duke University, Queen Mary University, Goldsmiths University, Westminster University, and Humboldt-University. From 2015-2021, she was a lecturer (teaching) in political theory at the University of Vienna. In 2020, she completed her PhD with a thesis on a political theory of experimental democracy (summa cum laude). With her notion of the experiment as a critical practice of conflict provocation, she points towards new lines of inquiry for contemporary democratic theory. Drawing on poststructuralism, critical theory, and American pragmatism she develops an argument for why democracy is not primarily a practice of problem-resolution but of problematisation. Rahel is the author of three monographs, two edited volumes, several book chapters and articles, and the founder and editor of the journal engagée. Two of her recent publications are Politique de la Provocation (2021) and ‘Horizontal experimentalism: Rethinking democratic resistance’ (2021, open access).


Rahel can be found on Twitter at @RahelSuess.




Photo: Olivier Pol Michel |www.moi-toi.de


 © 2021 Rahel Süß