On Populist Reason
Verso, 2005 - 276 pages
In this new and highly original work Ernesto Laclau continues the philosophical and political exploration initiated in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Times and Emancipation(s). His topic here is the construction of popular identities, conceived in a wide sense covering the ensemble of strategies making possible the emergence of the 'people' as a collective actor. The book skillfully combines theoretical analysis with a myriad of empirical references from numerous historical and geographical contexts.
The first part presents a critical reading of the existing literature on populism, demonstrating its dependency on the basic categories elaborated by the theorists of 'mass psychology', from Taine and Le Bon to Tarde, McDougall and Freud. The second part forms the main theoretical core of the work, where the question of the emergence of the 'people' as a political and social force is treated. Several categories already present in Laclau's work – such as empty and floating signifiers, hegemony and heterogeneity – are devloped here in new and innovative directions. In particular, the relation of populism to democracy and to the logic of representation is given special emphasis. The third part is devoted to particular case studies of both the conditions leading to the emergence of the 'people' and the obstacles preventing its formation. Finally, in a concluding chapter, Laclau locates the question of popular identities within the context of a globalized world and differentiates his approach from those of other theoreticians such as Zizek, Hardt and Negri and Ranciere. This book is essential reading for all those interested in the question of political identities in present-day societies.
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Populism Ambiguities and Paradoxes
Le Bon Suggestion and Distorted Representations
Suggestion Imitation Identification
CONSTRUCTING THE PEOPLE
The People and the Discursive Production of Emptiness
Floating Signifiers and Social Heterogeneity
Populism Representation and Democracy
actors analysis antagonism antagonistic approach articulation asserts becomes camp cathected central Chantal Mouffe Chartist common conceived conceptual constitution construction crowd crowd psychology democracy democratic demands differential dimension discourse discussion distinction ego ideal elements emergence empty signifier equivalence equivalential chain equivalential logics Ernesto Laclau established ethnic forces Freud frontier function Ginneken hegemonic heterogeneous historical homogeneous Ibid identification ideological individual internal involves Jacques Ranciere kind Lacanian Laclau leader Lega Nord limits lumpenproletariat Margaret Canovan Marx mass means movement objet petit ontic ontological operation overdetermination partial object particular Party Peron Peronist plurality political popular identities populism populist possible proletariat psychology purely question radical Ranciere regime relation representation result revolution rhetoric role sense Serge Moscovici Slavoj Zizek social demands society stricdy structure struggle symbolic Tarde terrain theoretical theory tion totality tradition unity universal whole Zizek
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