Antagonistic Political Emotions: An Integrative Philosophical Analysis

This project will investigate what it means to experience political emotions, provide detailed analyses of specifically antagonistic political emotions, clarify their role in political identification and group formation, consider their normative functions and appropriateness conditions, and examine how they arise in face-to-face encounters, social movements, as well as online contexts.

The political arena is deeply stirred by emotions. Indeed, it is antagonistic emotions that figure most prominently among political emotions: distrust, envy, fear, anger, resentment, indignation, contempt, or hatred. But antagonistic emotions not only involve outgroup hostility; the guiding hypothesis of the project is that they also essentially involve the experience of shared concerns, generate both inclusive and exclusive forms of solidarity, and typically lead to ‘affective enclaves’, especially in online spaces.

The project aims to corroborate this hypothesis by drawing on phenomenology, the philosophy of emotions and political philosophy, as well as research from the social sciences (esp. social and political psychology and sociology).

For more information, see the project website.


  • What makes emotions political? Is it their objects, their public expression, a shared concern for the political community, or their public recognition as political?
  • How and by whom are they felt?
  • Is antagonism an essential characteristic of political emotions?
  • How do political emotions lead to affective enclaves and generate ingroup/outgroup demarcations, in particular in online spaces?
  • What is the normative function of antagonistic political emotions?
  • When are antagonistic political emotions appropriate or inappropriate reactions?



  1. The affective intentionality of antagonistic political emotions
  2. The normativity and appropriateness of antagonistic political emotions
  3. Analyses of paradigmatic antagonistic political emotions, particularly of resentment, Ressentiment, indignation, distrust and hatred
  4. Antagonistic political emotions, affective enclaves and the internet



Osler, L., & Szanto, T. (Eds.) (forthcoming). For, Against, Together: Antagonistic Political Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Osler, L., & Tietjen, R.R. (forthcoming). Affects and Emotions: Antagonism, Allegiance, and Beyond. In: Nils Baratella, Steffen Herrmann, Sophie Loidolt, Tobias Matzner, & Gerhard Thonhauser (Eds.). Routledge Handbook of Political Phenomenology. London, New York: Routledge. PDF

Szanto, T. (forthcoming). Feelings of Belonging and Feeling Solidarity: Two Forms of Social Cohesion? In: D. Petherbridge, and L. Dolezal (Eds.). The Phenomenology of Belonging. Albany: SUNY Press. PDF

Osler, L. (forthcoming). Belonging Online: Rituals, Sacred Objects, and Mediated Interactions. In: D. Petherbridge, and L. Dolezal (Eds.). The Phenomenology of Belonging. Albany: SUNY Press.

Montes Sánchez, A. (forthcoming). La vergüenza. In: Velasco Arias, G. & Gómez Ramos, A (eds.). Atlas político de emociones. Trotta: Madrid.


Szanto, T. (2023): Epistemically Exploitative Bullshit. A Sartrean AccountEuropean Journal of Philosophy, 31(3), 711–730.

Salice, A., & Montes Sánchez, A. (2023). Envy, Racial Hatred and Self-Deception. In: Montes Sánchez, A. & Salice, A (Eds.), Emotional Self-Knowledge, London, New York: Routledge, 188-208. PDF

Montes Sánchez, A. & Salice, A. (2023). Self-Understanding and Moral Self-Improvement in Individual Shame and Shame Based on Group Identification. In: Fussi, A. & Rodogno, R. (Eds.). The Moral Psychology of Shame. Rowman and Littlefield.

Szanto, T., & A. Montes Sánchez (2023). Imaginary Communities, Normativity and Recognition: A New Look at Social Imaginaries. Phänomenologische Forschungen, Beihefte 5, 197-218. PDF

Szanto, T. (2023). Bullshit, Unaufrichtigkeit und epistemische Ausbeutung. Eine Relektüre von Sartres Überlegungen zur Judenfrage. In: A. Gros., J. Dreher, and H. Rosa (Eds.). Phänomenologie und Kritische Theorie. Berlin: Suhrkamp.

Tietjen, R.R. (2023). Feeling and Performing “the Crisis”: On the Affective Phenomenology and Politics of the Corona Crisis. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. PDF

Tietjen, R.R. (2023). Fear, Fanaticism, and Fragile Identities. The Journal of Ethics. PDF

Roberts, T., & Osler, L. (2023). Social Doubt. Journal of the American Philosophical Association. PDF

Osler, L. (2023). WTF?! - Covid-19, Indignation, and the Internet. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. PDF


Osler, L. (2022). Empathy, Togetherness and Familiarity: From Ofine to Online. Metodo 10 (1), 145-177. PDF

Szanto, T. (2022). Epistemically Exploitative Bullshit. A Sartrean Account. European Journal of Philosophy. PDF

Tietjen, R.R. (2022). The Affects of Populism. Journal of the American Philosophical Association. PDF

Salice A., Salmela M., Montes Sánchez, A., and Sullivan, G. B. (2022). Editorial: Self-conscious emotions and group-identification: Theoretical, empirical, and normative questions. Frontiers in Psychology 13:970665. PDF

Szanto, T. (2022). Sacralizing Hostility: Fanaticism as a Group-Based Affective Mechanism. In: L. Townsend, R. R. Tietjen, H. B. Schmid, and M. Staudigl (Eds.). The Philosophy of Fanaticism: Epistemic, Affective, and Political Dimensions. London, New York: Routledge, 184–212. PDF

Townsend, L., Tietjen, R.R., Schmid, H.B., Staudigl, M. (Eds.) (2022). The Philosophy of Fanaticism: Epistemic, Affective, and Political Dimensions. London: Routledge.

Tietjen, R.R., Townsend, L. (2022). Introduction to the Philosophy of Fanaticism. In: L. Townsend, R.R. Tietjen, H.B. Schmid, M. Staudigl (Eds.). The Philosophy of Fanaticism: Epistemic, Affective, and Political Dimensions. London: Routledge. PDF

Tietjen, R.R. (2022). On the Social Constitution of Fanatical Feelings. In: L. Townsend, R.R. Tietjen, H.B. Schmid, M. Staudigl (Eds.). The Philosophy of Fanaticism: Epistemic, Affective, and Political Dimensions. London: Routledge. PDF

Osler, L. & Zahavi, D. (2022). Sociality and embodiment: online communication during and after Covid-19. Foundations of Science. PDF

Osler, L. (2022). “An illness of isolation, a disease of disconnection”: Depression and the erosion of we-experiences. Frontiers in Psychology, 13(928186), 1-15. PDF

Krueger, J. & Osler, L. (2022). Communing with the dead online: chatbots, grief, and continuing bonds. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 29 (9-10), 222-252. PDF


Tietjen, R.R. (2021): Religious Zeal, Affective Fragility, and the Tragedy of Human Existence. Human Studies. PDF

Osler, L. & Krueger, J. (2021). Taking Watsuji online: betweenness and expression in online spaces. Continental Philosophy Review, 55, 77–99. PDF

Osler, L., & Szanto, T. (2021). Political Emotions and Political Atmospheres. In: Dylan Trigg (Ed.). Shared Emotions and Atmospheres. London, New York: Routledge, 162–188. PDF

Szanto, T. (2021). Can it Be or Feel Right to Hate? On the Appropriateness and Fittingness of Hatred. Philosophy and Society 32(3), 341–368. PDF

Szanto, T. (2021). Hass und die negative Dialektik affektiver Herabsetzung. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 69(3), 422–437. PDF

Osler, L. (2021): Taking Empathy Online. Inquiry. DOI: 10.1080/0020174X.2021.1899045 PDF

Tietjen, R. R. (2021): Religious Zeal as an Affective Phenomenon. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20(1), 75–91. PDF

Tietjen, R. R. (2021): Die Dialektik politischer Emotionalisierung und Entemotionalisierung. In: Helfritzsch, P., and Müller Hipper, J. (Eds.): Die Emotionalisierung des Politischen. Texte zur Betrachtung eines vielfältigen Phänomens. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 65–69.

Osler, L. & Krueger, J. (2021). ProAna worlds: Affectivity and echo chambers online. Topoi 41, 883–893. PDF


Szanto, T., and Landweer, H. (Eds.) (2020): The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Emotions. London, New York: Routledge (pp. 602). PDF

Szanto, T. (2020): In Hate We Trust: On the Habitualization and Collectivization of Hatred. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19(3), 453–480. PDF

Szanto, T., and Slaby, J. (2020): Political Emotions. In: Szanto, T., and Landweer, H. (Eds.): The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Emotions. London, New York: Routledge, 478-492. PDF

Szanto, T. (2020). Why Should We Give a Damn? On Shared Emotions. The Philosopher 108/4, 32-37. PDF

Osler, L (2020): Feeling togetherness online: A phenomenological sketch of online communal experiences. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 19:3, 569-588. PDF

Osler, L. (2020): See you online. The Philosophers’ Magazine. 90(3): 80-86. PDF

Tietjen, R. R. (2020): Religiöser Eifer. Philosophische Annäherung an ein komplexes Phänomen. In: J. Woyke (Ed.): Gottes Eifer – Eifern für Gott. Radikalismus und Fanatismus in der biblischen Tradition und Wirkungsgeschichte. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Biblisch-Theologische Studien 181), 51–80, PDF


León, F., Szanto, T., and Zahavi, D. (2019): Emotional Sharing and the Extended Mind. Synthese 196(12), 4847-4867. PDF

Szanto, T., and Krueger, J. (Eds.) (2019): Empathy, Shared Emotions, and Social Identity. (Special Issue): Topoi 38(1). PDF




The project is carried out in collaboration with the following research partners from philosophy and the social sciences:

  • Brigitte Bargetz (Dept. of Political Science, University of Kiel)
  • Thomas Brudholm (Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen)
  • Marc Guinjoan (Institutions and Political Economy Research Group, University of Barcelona)
  • Mihaela Mihai (Dept. of Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh)
  • Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl (Dept. of Philosophy, University of Graz)
  • Mikko Salmela (Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen)
  • Christian von Scheve (Dept. of Sociology & DFG Research Center ‘Affective Societies’, FU Berlin)
  • Hans Bernhard Schmid (Dept. of Philosophy, University of Vienna)
  • Jan Slaby (Dept. of Philosophy & DFG Research Center ‘Affective Societies’, FU Berlin)
  • Gavin Sullivan (Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University)



The plasticity of emotions: Günther Anders’ contribution to the history of feelings
Thursday, June 29, 2023 - 3:00 PM
Saturday, July 1, 2023 - 4:00 PM

For, against, together: antagonistic political emotions
Wednesday, September 7, 20229:00 AM
Thursday, September 8, 20225:30 PM
University of Copenhagen
Karen Blixens Plads 8, Copenhagen, Denmark

Affective Enclaves: Forging Communities Online and Offline
Monday, October 4, 202110:00 AM
Tuesday, October 5, 20216:00 PM
University of Copenhagen

The Philosophy of Political Emotions: Reflections and Self-Reflections
Monday, March 22, 20211:00 PM
Wednesday, March 24, 20217:00 PM



Name Title Phone E-mail
Thomas Szanto Associate Professor +4535333788 E-mail


Austrian Science Fund (FWF) - logo

This project has received funding from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Project number: P32392-G

Project period: 01 November 2020 – 31 August 2023


Thomas Szanto
Head of project, associate professor
Department of Communication
University of Copenhagen