It is often asserted that postmodernism emerged from 'leftist' Nietzsche-interpretations, but this claim and its implications are rarely explored. Deconstructing Postmodernist Nietzscheanism investigates how Deleuze and Foucault read Nietzsche and apply a hermeneutics of innocence to his philosophy that erases the elitist, anti-democratic, and anti-socialist dimensions. In a clear and incisive analysis, Rehmann shows that this misreading also affects their own theory and impairs the ability to develop a radical critique from it. Thus the late Foucault's turn to self-care techniques merges a neo-Nietzschean approach with the ideologies of neoliberalism.
Rehmann's critique is not directed against the endeavor to take suggestions from some of Nietzsche's astute intuitions, but rather against the near universal tendency to use him as a symbolic capital without admitting his hierarchical obsession and other political flaws.
This book is an updated and extended version of Postmoderner Links-Nietzscheanismus: Deleuze and Foucault. Eine Dekonstruktion, originally published in German by Argument Verlag GmbH.
“Jan Rehmann is one of the last grand Critical Theorists rooted in the best of the sophisticated and flexible Marxist tradition. This powerful and persuasive critique of Postmodernist Nietzscheanism opens the door to more potent forms of counterhegemony in our time!”
—Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary, New York
“Jan Rehmann's book does something urgent and very difficult: it explores the readings of Nietzsche that subtend Deleuze's and Foucault's influential theorisations and asks critically about the consequences of their systematic erasure of the darker, less 'innocent' sides of Nietzsche's writings. Rehmann does so by traversing an immense canon of literature from the French, German and Anglophone context with admirable wit, clarity and nuance - and thereby shows us how philosophy as critical theory can be done in our current theoretical conjuncture.”
—Svenja Bromberg, Goldsmiths University, London
“In his eye-opening book, Jan Rehmann offers us a fascinating account of how one of the most elitist and anti-democratic opponents of modernity was elevated as a nomadic rebel and promoted as an alternative to Marxism and socialism. Rehmann’s careful study is therefore more than just a story about French intellectuals. It provides us with a critical history of the most significant intellectual shift of the post war period: postmodernism.”
—Daniel Zamora Vargas, Université Libre de Bruxelles