Research Topic 2:
Order by Admiration
This research topic examines how effects of wonder function in discourses and dispositives of power and order. It analyzes practices that produce admiration, sometimes verging toward awe, overpowerment or even stupefaction, in political and scientific fields. Three levels of observation are crucial to this topic. A first emphasis will lie on the interrelation between the aesthetics and rhetoric of admiration and the establishing of political power. A second emphasis will lie on the interrelation between the aesthetics and rhetoric of admiration and the evaluation and justification of scientists and scientific inventions, particularly technological artifacts. Thirdly, close attention will be paid to the diverse strategies of the economy of attention, our ways of promoting and advertising ideas, products and individuals (particularly in self-fashioning), and their medial, social, economic, artistic and not least linguistic means. At all three levels of observation, a special focus will lie on the ambivalence of admiration that, on the one hand, attracts people enthusiastically to the admired person/institution/object and, on the other hand, makes them feel small and disempowered in front of this unreachable greatness.