Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 26 (1):301-323 (2021)

The phrase, “Without Authority,” is used so frequently by Kierkegaard that it becomes a kind of signature; yet it remains little understood. I argue that the phrase works to resist patriarchal, top-down, institutionally sanctioned authority: the authority of “direct” communication. Kierkegaard is not alone in contesting the tyranny of patriarchy: another tyranny—of anonymity, of the crowd—threatens to do away with patriarchal authority too, and with it all authority, all communication. Kierkegaard’s “without authority” defies patriarchy and does so at the risk of this wild-fire destruction, for the sake of a different communication that might yet be possible.
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DOI 10.1515/kierke-2021-0013
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