Dr. Sven Altenburger

vertritt die Professur im Wintersemester 2023/24

Sven final


Theodor-W.-Adorno Platz 6
60323 Frankfurt am Main
Raum: 3.G 039
Tel.: +49 (0)69 798 36253
E-Mail: altenburger@soz.uni-frankfurt.de


I am a political theorist and historian of political thought. My primary research interest lies in exploring the relationship between individual and political community through the lens of individual obligations in their moral and institutional dimension. This has brought me thus far to analyse political ideas and institutions of taxation as well as military and civil conscription. Relatedly, I am interested in the concept of civic duty, the oligarchic threat to modern democracy, and the normative and institutional resources needed to counter it. I also maintain a broader interest in modern German and American political thought, as well as questions of method.

Before joining the University of Frankfurt, I worked as a Research Associate in Politics at the University of Göttingen and the University of Kiel. I hold a PhD in Politics from the University of Göttingen and an MA in History of Political Thought from Queen Mary/UCL. I also worked at the German think tank Das Progressive Zentrum and held visiting positions at the University of Chicago, the University of Exeter, and the University of Copenhagen. My research has received support from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).       

Selected Publications

Works in Progress

  • ‘The Case for Tax Publicity’
  • Justifying Mandatory Civic Service’

 Selected Papers

  • ‘Republicanism and Military Conscription’, The Venice Multidisciplinary World Conference on Republics and Republicanism (forthcoming, May 2024)
  • ‘The Case for Tax Publicity’, Congress Political Theory in Times of Uncertainty, University of Bremen (September 2023)
  • ‘Social Liberal Tax Philosophies in Germany and America, c. 1880-1910’, Conference Liberalism and/or Socialism: Tensions, Exchanges and Convergences from the 19th Century to Today, University of Lorraine (October 2021)
  • ‘Institutions of Civic Duties in Germany and America, c. 1890-1990’, MANCEPT Workshop: Authoritarian Moments, Manchester Centre for Political Theory (September 2021)
  • ‘Rethinking American and German Conscription’, Fifth LSE Political Theory Graduate Conference (March 2019)


  • Democratic Theory
  • Civic Duties in Modern Democracy
  • Twentieth Century American Political Thought
  • Republicanism: Historical and Contemporary Theories