Dr. Vesna Stanković Pejnović



Institute for Political Studies



Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb University



Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb University


Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb University



Dr. Vesna Stanković Pejnović, Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Political Studies, Belgrade. She is the author of books:

Политичка филозофија Фридриха Ничеа (Political philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche), Mediterran Publishing, Novi Sad, 2014; Balkan illusion and European perspective, Lambert Publishing, 2015; Европске илузије Балкана (European Illusions of the Balkans), Institute for Political Studies, Belgrade, 2020; Apsolutnost kapitala (Absoluteness of Capital, Metaphysics) 2022, Belgrade; La destrucción de Yugoslavia, Letras Inquietas, Cenicero, La Rioja, Spain, 2023; Apsolutnost kapitala, Институт за политичке студије, Београд, 2023.

She is the editor of the collection: Macedonia, Social, Political and Economic issue, 2017, NOVA science publisher, New York; New Understanding of Capital in the Twenty First Century, Institute for Policy Studies, Belgrade, 2020; Beyond Capitalism and Neoliberalism, Institute for Political Studies, Belgrade, 2021.


Proponents of the policy of cultural recognition transfer the model of Hegel's understanding to the cultural and political realm, ignoring distributive injustice and social inequality. According to them, the foundation of justice is the recognition of the specificity of group identity as a political goal. Recognition does not require a group-specific identity, but the status of individual members of the group as full partners in social action. Proponents of cultural recognition base their interpretations of recognition within the framework of institutional meaning and norms that establish different opportunities for social participation and the connection between essentialization, identity complexity and social division. The policy of cultural recognition has a limited understanding of justice because it is primarily devoted to freedom and autonomy, and not to the creation of equal opportunities necessary for the development of human abilities and the realization of the purpose of life. The policy of recognizing status differences recognizes the existence of structural inequalities, but not cultural differences because culture is the medium of hierarchical status differences and economic class inequality. Correcting inequality requires a policy of status recognition that is not reduced to the question of identity but to overcoming subordination in such a way that an unrecognized group is recognized as a full member of society, capable of equal participation in society. It is necessary to reconcile the false antitheses between the concepts of redistribution and cultural recognition, which are conceptually possible, and to balance economic goals with the activities of civil society and social institutions if the foundation of society and policy is the promotion of fairness. The theorists of the recognition of status differences point out that the elimination of unfair inequality explicitly requires the recognition of group differences and the compensation of these deficiencies. They indicate that the socio-economic classes of people are not the result of social division of labor and decision-making structures, but are groups with disabilities that are the result of institutional racism Proponents of both discourses find their foundation of recognition in justice, but interpret it differently. Although they have different understandings of diversity and their alignment with justice and equality, both forms of diversity politics have similarities even though they are not guided by the same logic of deliberation. Both discourses dispute political equality, point to the existence of domination that limits freedom or reduces opportunities in different ways, and consider that situations in which group diversity is sufficient for the emergence of conflict and domination. Due to many superficial and unfounded analyzes that have become part of the discourse of contemporary theories of social justice, there is increasing doubt about their suitability for suppressing or explaining the existing growing injustices in society. That is why the search for a redefined approach to liberal-egalitarian theory is becoming more and more pronounced, since the loss of connection with egalitarian socio-political movements is becoming more and more obvious.



The paper is examining Nietzsche’s attempt to fuse his studies of antiquity with his critique of modernity. For Nietzsche, modernity is in a state of crisis. If we look at the intellectual relationship early Nietzsche develops with the Greek philosophers, it can be discovered the guiding problems motivating a good deal of Nietzsche's later work, but also and problem-solving strategies that marks the development of his whole philosophical journey. The aim of the work is to prove that the foundation of Nietzsche's philosophy is found in the value system of the ancient Greeks, while the central problem is culture, which he interprets through the prism of Greek cultural values ​​that reconcile thinking, desire and the will to live with the will to power. Nietzsche claims that the Greeks have offered humanity exemplary models of cultural and individual developments. 'Heterogeneous' prePlatonic philosopher is essential to the homogeneity of Greek culture.

Nietzsche's classicism amounts is criticism of his own times, but in the time is the base of his whole philosophical opuses. Nietzsche insists, modern Europe could not simply 'imitate the Greeks'. As individuals, the Greeks were psychologically healthier than the moderns were; they were emotionally stronger, in Nietzsche's view, more self-assured, less alienated from their own natures and from nature as such. They enjoyed these advantages because the common culture uniting the Greek world was stronger and more clearly defined, and this strength helped the Greeks find reliable answers to questions concerning the purpose of their being in the world. They knew, instinctually, why they existed, and in their various philosophies and tragic festivals, each of them affirmed to himself the meaning of his own particular existence, and by confirming the basic assumptions and worth of the culture's institutions, each of them affirmed the meaning of existence as such. The most significant problems and concepts arising in Nietzsche's philosophy developed through his engagement with Greek culture and thought and that for these reason studies of Nietzsche failing to take into account these problems and concepts from their origins run the risk of misconceiving Nietzsche's ideas by a considerable margin. Nietzsche does not reject not the tradition or modernity's inheritance of it.

In Nietzsche's reading, Greek culture, like all flourishing types, understood the need for meaning, purpose, direction and goals, and responded to this need by 'toppling boundary stones',  but also by constructing 'new religions and moralities'.  Both responses are the function of such artistic, philosophical visions affected as they were in the age of Greek tragedy. Will to power serves him as a tool for understanding the conventional paths of modern scepticism and pessimism. Nietzsche’s notion of self-overcoming contains the meaning of maturity and spiritual growth, based on ancient will to life. The key to the meaning of the will to power is Nietzsche’s notion of self-overcoming after achieving maturity and power. The optimal will to power is realized in the ideal Übermensch based on ancient hero.



Biopower is a form of power that regulates social life from its interior, following it, interpreting it, absorbing it, and rearticulating it. Power can achieve an effective command over the entire life of the population only when it becomes an integral, vital function that every individual embraces and reactivates of his or her own accord. Biopower points out the moment when human life explicitly became part of the political calculations. Beyond the regime of sovereignty, oriented by a logic of repression, emerges a new regime, oriented by a logic of production and control, that is, a power “to make live” or “to let die”. For Negri and Hardt biopower constitutes social relations, inserting individuals and populations in a circuit of value, obedience, and utility. In cognitive capitalism capital presents itself as biopower. The point is that capitalism is not only an economic mode of production, but also a mode of life production, a mode of subjectivation. Therefore, it is not only about the reproduction of capital, but also about the reproduction of subjects, the effective producers of economic value. We are facing with the tendency of capital’s invasion of bios, the becoming- of-capital-biopower, to introduce the concept of biocapitalism. However, it is in this context that biopower and biopolitics must be seen as working together with other technologies of power – repressive and disciplinary power – which operate more directly on the body and on subjectivity. To the new forms of conflict are linked with new forms of power: from cognitive warfare to sharp power. Through cognitive conflict and sharp power strategies, we are witnessing an epochal change, an IT revolution that brings political conflict into a digital dimension, which acts on the ground of public opinion, politics and economics, control and conditioning of knowledge, of our world view and of facts. Zuboff introduces the concept of surveillance-based capitalism implemented via sophisticated algorithms of BigTech companies (Google, Apple, Amazon, Meta, and others). Digital networks do not only collect data on users, but they “cluster” these users with the help of algorithms and encourage specific desired behaviors. Then, the patterns of these behaviors are stored (as raw material of a kind) in Big Data and sold further as commodity (behavioral surplus) on the market. A persons “digital behavior” thus becomes a market subject in various ways. It is ubiquitous, sensate, computational, and global and it is designed so that all human activity, from the most banal to the boldest, can be monitored, measured, and modified for the purposes of surveillance capitalism This capacity to “shape human behavior”, gives rise to what Zuboff calls “instrumentarian power” This is not dissimilar to forms of governmentality described by Foucault, because its goal is not just the “conduct of conduct” rather it is to turn people themselves into highly predictable instruments of political or material consumption. As a new form of subtle and sophisticated despotism, data are used by agencies as predictive products about our future behaviors, information that allows to control a market, but also the space for political decision-making and legitimacy, and, therefore become a huge power. Predictive behavioral surplus sources are increased and enhanced to guide, advise and lead people to behaviors, which they believe free, which actually aim for the greater profit of surveillance capitalists.


Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Scheler perceive the spirit of their time and its deep social and spiritual crisis of Western civilization, emphasizing that the loss of common values ​​and landmarks in social life led to ressentiment alienation, meaninglessness, pessimism, despair, decadence, decay, nihilism. In the paper, by method of comparative analysis, it is presented Nietzsche's and Scheler's perspectives of perceiving the crisis of the spirit of modern civilization and their proposals to overcome it. Both authors see the foundation of the crisis in the loss of meaning, the rise of nihilism and the wrong values ​​that society promotes, as a consequence of resentment. Scheler emphasizes the importance and power of the "world of life". Scheler opposes the decadence of modern civilization by rehabilitating and reaffirming the absolute and eternal order of values, and resentment represents the destruction of the eternal order of values ​​in human consciousness. Nietzsche's overcoming of resentment seeks to be achieved through the "affirmation of life", the will to power that the subject lacks. Power determines human behavior as the main feature of Nietzsche's affirmative ethics, so contrary to nihilism, as the spirit of the times. For Nietzsche, the unstoppable decline in the modern period is the result of nihilism, which he explains as a lack of goal or intention. All values ​​lack the will to power because the values ​​of decay rule, nihilistic values. In order to overcome the crisis, political reforms must be accompanied by cultural reforms and changes that would be carried out by philosophers-legislators by giving new guidelines and establishing new values ​​as guiding principles of man. By depriving the strong and the aristocratic of their right to domination and revenge, ressentiment has become an extremely effective weapon in the hands of the weakling. For Nietzsche, ressentiment is the father of Christianity. Grown out of a destructive source, it has become a major creative cultural force in the shape of Christianity and its offspring. Ressentiment is definitely a dominant factor in our culture. Born out of the Christian attack on violence, it became the father of modern Western society. Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Scheler defined ressentiment as a form of political anger that does not seek a clear remedy. It is this particular conception of irremediable political discontent that appears. Nietzsche and Scheler originally conceived ressentiment as a critique of the striving towards egalitarianism. Scheler sought to discover how to save man from the crisis of civilization, opposing all the false teachings about salvation that do not solve the crisis, but deepen it. The solutions he proposes are the rise of heroism and spirit in the war and the reintegrated national community, as in the days before and at the beginning of the First World War; affirmation of individual spiritual personalities and their solidarity under the auspices of the Church, as in the period from the second half of the war to the beginning of the 1920s; or the creation of a liberal elite of education that will unite science with (rational) metaphysics, in the last period. Nietzsche strives for self-transcendence and the establishment of a hierarchy in society according to the greatness of humanity itself as a need for the policy of salvation in the age of nihilism, which will be led by the superman. Nietzsche longs for a new humanity that would be just an expression of the nihilistic conditions he wants to overcome. Undisguised is his dissatisfaction with the present man whom he identifies with the resentment towards life. Because of the crisis of authority, and in search of a dead God, humanity needs new idols or ideas, which will be the new metaphysical foundations of morality. It is essential, for a modern man to find himself, while at the same time showing that it is necessary to establish new legislation. The paper concludes that the causes of the crisis of modern civilization are found in the "inverted values" of the lower class according to Scheler and slavish morality with values ​​that lack the will to power in Nietzsche.


The age of surveillance capitalism: the fight for a human future at the new frontier of power

Book review: Shoshana Zuboff. 2018. The age of surveillance capitalism: the fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. New York: PublicAffairs, 704 str.



We are faced with biocontrol of the whole society imposed by the invisible centers of power which, through networked activities through various but connected organizations, want to unite their activities globally under the pretext that the world is not prepared for the coming threats, one of which is an epidemic. "Life as a political object" is turned towards the controls that are exercised over it, in the name of the 'right' to life, body, health, security. Contemporary politics is bio politics as a power that regulates social life from within it as a control covering all the depths of consciousness and the body of the population. By attacking both one’s biological body and one’s “social body”, the individual's psyche is strained to the point of disconnection. We are in the fight against the "invisible enemy" who is omnipresent and unknown with the following fear. This planned pandemic shows that we are in the process of social engineering as sort of biological and psychological war. In biopower we are following the narrative to coarse into compliance, painful to resist, so we eventually compromise with the different “measures” of “new normal”, which have elements of torture. According to Mike Pompeo, The Secretary of State, COVID 19 is a “live exercise” оr some kind of “gaming scenarios”, and it comes as a tremendous cost both to humanity and the economy. We are facing a new global technotronic age in which supranational and multinational companies are a kind of global invisible rulers. The paper will show, with a theoretical approach that the foundations of biopower are fear, insecurity, and panic. The emphasized fear of the invisible enemy is supported by scientists and harmonized with media exposing with different and contradictory information. Fear is spreading due to the depressiveness of power and is related to biopower, which is aimed at the good of the population, and is visible in the action of power exercised by networked centers of "global government" as advocates of private-public partnership. The presented documents show the action of biopolitics as a planned scenario and the network action of "soft, invisible power" which acts globally, and in the financial background are private foundations. In whole this constellation, the appearance of the “conspiracy theories” as “unofficial” and “deprived knowledges” is imminently and provocably present evident nowadays.



Book review: Kissinger, Henry. 2015. Svjetski poredak. Zagreb: Školska knjiga. 366 str.



Although they differ in approach, it is fundamental that both Marx and Nietzsche simply want to encourage and empower humanity to stand up and fight for themselves and the world around them. The aim of the paper is to show that Marx and Nietzsche, thinkers who aspire to overcome the epoch, through a revolution of thought that rebels against the estranged man who, in our post human age, became a man-made cripple who is only a hired labor, and himself became a slave. Marx and Nietzsche are thinkers who point out that it is only through a revolutionary turn in the essence of the world and human reasoning is possible to open up opportunities for being human. Marx and Nietzsche advocate the fight against the world of alienated man, for the world of true freedom, led by a working, creative man who changes and overcomes circumstances. According to Marx and Nietzsche, from the “realm of necessity” to the true “realm of freedom” comes through revolution – the epochal, radical turns of existing alienated, inhumane reality into a new human, meaningful reality that will be free from the contradictions (economic and ideological) of the “old world” and be a possible space for the full development of universal human creative potentials. Nietzsche’s primary political goal is to perfect or excel in man himself. According to Marx, capitalist society does not provide an opportunity for the development of a free in alienate man who will live by his own, authentic existence, but constantly alienates man from himself and nature, turning man into a slave, and nature into destruction. The alienation of man from himself Marx and Nietzsche stand out especially in their understanding of religion. According to Mars and Nietzsche, religion is a perverted consciousness that alienates man from himself. Marx criticizes Christianity as a religion of the hopeless. They despise Christian ideals because they are blind to the reality of life. To the Christian notion of creation, Nietzsche contrasts the new notion of the creation of man, which is formed through the will to power which in man creates through him, as a being in which the will relates to itself and is thus transcended. Through a comparative analysis of Marx and Nietzsche’s thinking, the paper will point to the reasons for alienating man as a creative human being and the alienated being of the nihilistic epoch.



The relationship between totalitarian propaganda and new media testifies to the double bond between technology and social rule and technosphere and total control. Speaking about the new totalitarianism, the emphasis is not placed in the way of political rule “the people”, rather than a radical change of the system of power over life of individual and mass. An important role in shaping of the media is based on the logic of universal transmedial irrational rationality order because neoliberal capitalism has no center and visible entities total economic powers that are invisible in complete transparency as a real illusion of new media. The task of a mass media is neutralize lived, unique, of event and character of the world and in its place set up a complex universe of media which are homogeneous to one another as such , pointing at each other. They become reciprocal content to each other and that is totalitarian “message” consumer society. Instead means of information and communication medial reality becomes a means or purpose of social cultural survival and hyper accumulating capital. Totalitarianism is ideological – political term that encompasses all sectors of life and overall has complete control. Total supervision or control is synonymous with capitalist globalization. Totalitarianism sources of information are focused to provide solutions to the formula suggested by the audience. The entirety of information presented shall be made public if the narrative about the lack of choice or no alternative, apparent manipulation brought to grotesque degree. To a large extent, the present abuses of emotions as critical awareness replace emotional impulses clearing the way for the unconscious. Through the media increasingly overcome growing manipulation of consciousness, as a means of absolute control and power with a vast amount of “professional” guided mass and narrow elitist minority that decides everything. In a totalitarian view of the state, culture becomes an ideological means or purpose of governing the masses based media constructions of reality and shaping the man as a “lonely crowd” with the ultimate goal of creating a “new world totalitarian order”.