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U. (Uğur) Aytaç

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
WP Groep: Docenten Politicologie

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: B10.01
Postal address
  • Postbus 15578
    1001 NB Amsterdam
Contact details
Social media
  • About

    I hold a PhD in political theory from the University of Amsterdam where I currently work as a lecturer. My research interests lie primarily in democracy, legitimacy, power & domination, social media, and political realism. I research how varying conceptualizations of legitimacy, power, and domination shape our normative judgments about the acceptability of socio-political arrangements including states, economic institutions, and digital platforms.

    I have two main lines of research: first, I study the normative implications of power relations on social media platforms. I investigate, for instance, if the powers of social media companies to regulate users’ speech are compatible with democratic legitimacy. I draw on republican and realist approaches in order to study how social media companies’ powers limit the ways citizens engage in practices of democratic contestation, which I call "digital domination".

    My second research focus is the methodology of political theory. In my PhD thesis, I engaged with the contemporary debates about the relationship between moral philosophy and political theory. I defended a version of political realism, the view that political theory is not a branch of moral philosophy. I developed an account of political realism, showing that there are several non-moral standards that can help us evaluate existing power relations and claims about their legitimacy. The inner normativity of politics, epistemic standards, and linguistic norms are the three sources of political normativity I have explored.

  • Publications

    Peer-reviewed Article:

    • ‘Digital Domination: Social Media and Contestatory Democracy.’ Forthcoming in Political Studies.
    • ‘Global Political Legitimacy and the Structural Power of Capital.’ Journal of Social Philosophy. Advance Online Publication. Available at: 
    • ‘Political Realism and Epistemic Constraints.’ Social Theory and Practice, 48(1), 2022, pp. 1-27. Available at:  
    • ‘On the Limits of the Political: The Problem of Overly Permissive Pluralism in Mouffe’s Agonism.’ Constellations, 28(3), 2021, pp. 417-431. Available at:
    • ‘Two Conceptions of Legitimacy: A Response to Fabian Wendt’s Moralist Critique of Political Realism’, Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy, 31(3), (2017), pp. 57-76

    Book Review:

    • 10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites A Little More and the Masses A Little Less, Garett Jones. Stanford University Press, 2020. In: Democratic Theory, 8(1), 2021, pp. 128-132. 
    • Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It) Elizabeth Anderson. Princeton University Press, 2017. In: International Dialogue: A Multidisciplinary Journal of World Affairs, 8, (2018), pp. 77-84.

    Under Review:

    • Ideology Critique without Moralism (with Enzo Rossi)

    Work in Progress:

    • Big Tech, Algorithmic Power, and Democratic Control
    • A Transformative Conception of Institutional Legitimacy (with Paul Raekstad)
  • Other Affiliations
    • Co-founder of Bogazici Political Economy Society 2011-2014
    • Amsterdam Center for Political Thought 2018-present
    • OZSW Peer-review Circle in Practical Philosophy 2018-present
  • Publications





    Media appearance


    • Aytac, U. (organiser), Schaafsma, G. (organiser), Klarenbeek, L. M. (organiser) & Thinius, A. (organiser) (23-5-2019 - 24-5-2019). Amsterdam Graduate Conference in Political Theory 2019, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


    • Aytaç, U. (2021). Alternatives to moralism: Political realist essays on power and legitimation. [details]
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • No ancillary activities