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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - General Sociology

Vincent August, M. A.

Postdoctoral research fellow | né Vincent Rzepka



Photo: Esra Eres


vincent.august (at) hu-berlin.de


Charlottenstraße 81, room 4.3.13

Mail address

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Department of Social Sciences
Unter den Lin­den 6
10099 Berlin

Office hours

Please contact me via email.



Personal Statement

Vincent August (né Rzepka) is postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in political and social theory at the Department of Social Sciences. Studying political science, sociology, and literature, he earned his BA and MA degree from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He has been a visiting researcher at UC Berkeley, the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), and the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. He is co-publisher and editor with the Theorieblog.

In a forthcoming book, Vincent examines the rise of network ideas. He reveals how intellectuals, such as Foucault, Crozier, or Luhmann, enforced cybernetic network ideas to re-shape the way we think about society and politics. As he traces concepts of complexity, self-regulation, and network governance from their origins in cybernetics via the “silent revolution” of the 1970s to the present, Vincent's work dissects the massive shift in our understanding of subjectivity and power that resulted from the rise of network ideas.

In his last monograph, Vincent challenged the political buzz word 'transparency' by offering a genealogy of this democratic norm. Recently, he has worked on a general theory of transparency, unraveling the history, mechanism, and unintended consequences of transparency. 


Just Published: International Volume on Transparency

The new multi-language volume edited by Vincent and his colleague compiles the social science research on transparency. For an overview, read the English introduction by Vincent and Fran that sets out to integrate the research results and sketch new frontiers of social science research.

The volume shows that transparency is a modernist concept of governance that translates distrust into practices of inspection. As they standardize and formalize processes, those processes become intelligible for lay persons external to the inner workings of a system. However, transpanrency often fails to achieve the self-proclaimed goals: transparency produces intransparency.

At many research institutes and universities, the volume will be accessible for free via SpringerLink(Abb.: © Springer VS)



Research interests


Vincent’s research areas are:

social and political theory

history of thought and sociology of knowledge

political sociology


His main research topics are:

Social cohesion:
concepts and practices of the common good, social cohesion in late modern societies, political integration

Norms, practices, and critique of governance:
networks, (neo)liberalism, republicanism

Transparency and the public sphere:
norms, practices, consequences of transparency, concepts of publicity, rhetoric

Politics in technological times:
history, epistemology, and power of technological ideas (esp. cybernetics, systems and network theory)



The Network Society: An Epistemic Order and its History of Thought

Ecological Theory: Analytical and Normative Approaches

Hannah Arendt's Political Thought

The Public Sphere: Theory, History, Challenges

Politics and Postmodernity: 'Governance' as a Political Theory

Michel Foucault’s History of Governmentality

Political Rhetoric: Analysis and Technique of Power

Liberalism – History and Topicality

Introduction to Political Theory and the History of Political Thought

Introduction to Academic Research

Performativity and Politics (team-taught with Grit Straßenberger)


Curriculum vitae