About the Journal

“The coils of a serpent”, Gilles Deleuze writes at the end of his influential essay Postscript on the Societies of Control, “are even more complex than the burrows of a molehill.” But exactly how complex are they?

The short text by Deleuze demonstrates the necessity to rethink power in the 21st century. When, to take up Marx’s imagery to which Deleuze refers, the distinct boundary lines between the surfaces of (capitalist) domination and the tunnels of (proletarian) resistance as they characterized the disciplinary societies of modernity dissolve in an increasingly complicated postmodern world of surfaces, then this requires precise and differentiated analyses of how forms of power change and of the ways in which emancipatory practice has to or already does change accordingly.

This requirement is the reason for the founding of the online-journal Coils of the Serpent: Journal for the Study of Contemporary Power, which was launched in the fall of 2016. As a scholarly medium dedicated to the investigation of contemporary manifestations of power, the website is an open-access platform on which diverse theories and analyses of power shall be developed, brought into dialogue with each other, discussed, criticized, illustrated and, not least, popularized. The orientation of the journal is interdisciplinary; it is conceived as a forum for a lively exchange of ideas and opinions between the fields of sociology, political science, philosophy, history, economics, literary, cultural and media studies, psychology, educational sciences, and many others. The phenomenon of power is essentially tackled on three levels, which can be interwoven to varying degrees: on the level of theory, on the level of case studies (of concrete institutions, social practices, discourse formations, dispositifs, forms of subjectivation, spaces, etc.) and on the level of contributions dealing with cultural and artistic engagements with power.

The journal wants to address not just critics, academics and students but also the interested public. It is open to all, the peer-reviewed essays published on the website shall be comprehensible to an audience not familiar with all the relevant academic discourses, and, through comment functions allowing readers to give their views and share in the debates, the website has a distinctly multi-directional, dialogic and democratic character. What is thus aimed at is not just a contribution to the contemporary research on power, but also its popularization and a contribution to the formation of critical, counter-hegemonic public spheres and publics. Coils of the Serpent, in short, is meant as an exercise in critique, in the sense in which one of the greatest thinkers of power, Michel Foucault, has used that term – as “the art of voluntary insubordination” and “of reflected intractability”, in a word: “the art of not being governed quite so much”.

General Editor

  • Florian Cord (Leipzig)

Advisory Board

  • Johannes Angermuller (Warwick/Paris)
  • Alex Demirovic (Frankfurt am Main)
  • Petra Gehring (Darmstadt)
  • Sabine Hark (Berlin)
  • Florian Kläger (Bayreuth)
  • Marcus S. Kleiner (Berlin)
  • Franziska Martinsen (Hannover)
  • Jeffrey T. Nealon (State College, PA)
  • Benjamin Noys (Chichester)
  • Ralph Pordzik (Würzburg)
  • Nina Power (London)
  • Marc Rölli (Leipzig)
  • Chris Rojek (London)
  • Michael Rustin (London)
  • Martin Saar (Frankfurt am Main)
  • Gerold Sedlmayr (Dortmund)
  • John Storey (Sunderland)
  • Alberto Toscano (London)
  • Dirk Wiemann (Potsdam)

Contributors