Laclau: A Critical Reader, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


A Critical Reader, 1st Edition

Edited by Simon Critchley, Oliver Marchart


368 pages

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Laclau: A Critical Reader is the first full-length critical appraisal of Laclau's work and includes contributions from several leading philosophers and theorists. The first section examines Laclau's theory that the contest between universalism and particularism provides much of the philosophical background to political and social struggle, taking up the important place accorded to, amongst others, Hegel and Lacan in Laclau's work. The second section of the book considers what Laclau's 'radical democracy' might look like and reflects on its ethical implications, particularly in relation to Laclau's post-Marxism and thinkers such as Jürgen Habermas. The final section investigates the place of hegemony in Laclau's work, the idea for which he is perhaps best-known.

This stimulating collection also includes replies to his critics by Laclau and the important exchange between Laclau and Judith Butler on equality, making it an excellent companion to Laclau's work and essential reading for students of political and social theory.


' … is exemplary in its attempt to do justice to the rich and complicated thought of its subject.' - Times Literary Supplement

'After the editor's superb introduction that sets the general implication of Laclau's work, a collection of snappy and well-written articles deal with Laclau's novel conceptualisation of hegemony and its implications … the text is so well edited that it is quite difficult to find any problem with it.' - Political Studies Review

Table of Contents

Introduction Section 1: Philosophy: Universality, Singularity, Difference Rodolphe Gasché How Empty Can Empty Be? On the Place of the Universal Fred Dallmayr Laclau and Hegemony: Some (Post) Hegelian Caveats Oliver Marchart Politics and the Ontological Difference: On the "Strictly Philosophical" in Laclau's Work Rado Riha Politics as the Real of Philosophy Linda Zerilli This Universalism Which Is Not One Section 2: Democracy: Politics, Ethics, Normativity Simon Critchley Is there a Normative Deficit in the Theory of Hegemony? Mark Devenney Ethics and Politics in Discourse Theory Aletta Norval Democratic Decisions and the Question of Universality: Rethinking Recent Approaches William E. Connolly The Ethos of Democratization Jelica Sumic Anarchism of Emancipation or Fidelity to Politics Section 3: Hegemony: Discourse, Rhetorics, Antagonism Jason Glynos and Yannis Stavrakakis Encounters of the Real Kind: Sussing Out the Limits of Laclau's Embrace of Lacan J. Hillis Miller "Taking Up a Task": Moments of Decision in Ernesto Laclau's Thought Urs Stäheli Competing Figures of the Limit: Dispersion, Transgression, Antagonism and Indifference Torben Dyrberg The Political and Politics in Discourse Analysis David Howarth Hegemony, Political Subjectivity and Radical Democracy Ernesto Laclau Glimpsing the Future A Reply Appendix 1: Ernesto Laclau and Judith Butler The Uses of Equality Appendix 2: Bibliography of Ernesto Laclau's Work

About the Editors

Simon Critchley is Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate Faculty, New School University and at the University of Essex. He is the author and editor of many books.

Oliver Marchart is a lecturer in Cultural and Media Theory at the University of Basel and in Political Theory at the University of Vienna.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Political