Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Susan Buck-Morss

Subject Categories

American Politics | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Political Theory


Wendy Brown, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Theodore Adorno, Little Rock, Global South


This thesis responds to the perennial theories of political decline in Western political thought by reimagining politics as a part of the loot plundered by the victors of history. It unpacks and critiques prognostications of the impending end of politics, specifically those of theorists Wendy Brown and Hannah Arendt, by dredging up the colonial and the capitalist logics that covertly underpin assumptions that politics is something that can be exclusively possessed. The forensic treatment of narratives of political decline reveals the unmistakable tracks of the rationality of property relations behind laments over the fate of political traditions that also withhold political sympathies for those confined from or within such traditions. Furthermore, by uncovering the anxiety of the looting of political inheritances present within the fear of political decline, this thesis shows how the apprehension of politics falling into the wrong hands is often embedded within the terrible fantasies of the passing of a political tradition.