DR Ben Gook

DR Ben Gook




  • Dr Ben Gook is an Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung postdoctoral fellow in social and cultural theory at Humboldt University in Berlin, hosted by Prof. Joseph Vogl. Ben focuses on affect and critical theory, specifically negative affects in contemporary life.
    Supported by research funding from the Humboldt Stiftung, Ben is currently researching “disaffection” and “the disaffected” as major socio-cultural features in western democracies. The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 heralded western capitalism’s triumphalist phase.  et since then, malaise has proliferated in capitalist societies amidst various crises. Social life has fractured, generating feelings of anxiety, insecurity and powerlessness. The “disaffected voter” has embodied distrustful democratic polities, and the “disaffected youth” has come to the fore in riots and movements. This project foregrounds “the disaffected” as a generalised but complicated figure in this period. It focuses on people who, while often profoundly discontented, feel they cannot effect lasting change. This produces forms of withdrawal including visible manifestations of discontent typically considered active (street movements, cultural production) as well as private retreats from contestation that are considered passive (anxiety, depression, boredom, apathy). Disaffection betrays a feeling of distance, a response to shifts that have routinely thwarted full participation. By returning to 1989, this project will take a novel, longer view of the contemporary moment, beyond the typical Anglophone focus on the last decade’s response to the financial crisis. The project seeks to import aspects of German debates to English discussion and vice versa.
    In August 2014, Ben completed a cross-faculty PhD at the University of Melbourne in Social Theory and Cultural Studies. This thesis was awarded the biannual Jean Martin Award from The Australian Sociologic   


Member of

  • Cultural Studies Association of Australiasia. Member 2012 -
  • The Australian Sociological Association. Member 2012 -


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • 2017-9 - Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Literary and Cultural Studies (Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft, Prof. Joseph Vogl), Humboldt University, Berlin (September 2017 – October 2019).

    2016-8 - Honorary Associate Investigator, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, University of Melbourne.

    2016-7 - Christoph Martin Wieland Postdoctoral Fellow, Sociology / Social Theory (Strukturanalyse moderner Gesellschaften, Prof. Frank Ettrich), Staatswissenschaftliche Fakultät, University of Erfurt.


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2014

Awards and honors

  • Philippa Maddern Prize (best article of the year), Society for the History of Emotions, 2017
  • Jean Martin Award (best PhD dissertation in sociology in Australia, 2013-2015), The Australian Sociology Association, 2015
  • Associate Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, 2015


Available for supervision

  • Y