Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left

Overview

What is the contemporary legacy of Gramsci's notion of hegemony? How can universality be reformulated now that its spurious versions have been so thoroughly criticized?

In this ground-breaking project, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Zizek engage in a dialogue on central questions of contemporary philosophy and politics. Their essays, organized as three contributions each that respond to one another, range over the Hegelian legacy in contemporary critical theory, the ...

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Overview

What is the contemporary legacy of Gramsci's notion of hegemony? How can universality be reformulated now that its spurious versions have been so thoroughly criticized?

In this ground-breaking project, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Zizek engage in a dialogue on central questions of contemporary philosophy and politics. Their essays, organized as three contributions each that respond to one another, range over the Hegelian legacy in contemporary critical theory, the theoretical dilemmas of multiculturalism, the universalism-versus-particularism debate, the strategies of the left in a globalized economy, and the relative merits of post-structuralism and Lacanian psychoanalysis for a critical social theory.

While the rigour and intelligence with which Butler, Laclau and Zizek approach their work is as formidable as one would expect, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality benefits additionally from their clear sense of energy and enjoyment in a revealing and often unpredictable exchange.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859842782
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Phronesis Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Frames of War, Precarious Life, The Psychic Life of Power, Excitable Speech, Bodies that Matter, Gender Trouble, and with Slavoj Žižek and Ernesto Laclau, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality.

Ernesto Laclau is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Government, University of Essex, and Distinguished Professor for Humanities and Rhetorical Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of, amongst other works, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (with Chantal Mouffe), New Reflections of the Revolution of Our Time, The Populist Reason, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (with Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek), and Emancipation(s).

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Questions 5
Restaging the Universal: Hegemony and the Limits of Formalism 11
Identity and Hegemony: The Role of Universality in the Constitution of Political Logics 44
Class Struggle or Postmodernism? Yes, please! 90
Competing Universalities 136
Structure, History and the Political 182
Da Capo senza Fine 213
Dynamic Conclusions 263
Constructing Universality 281
Holding the Place 308
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2005

    Moments of Brilliance followed by long interludes of shop talk

    Let me begin by saying that I'm a fan of all three of these writers, and I appreciate the candor of the work, as well as the project of dialogue concerning the structure of the movment of the New Left. 'Dialogues' has much representing the critical and important work these three authors are partaking in. Unfortunately, where 'Dialogues' succeeds is in the hashing out of the details of their specific projects - a hashing out that I found at times mundane and at other times superfluous. What shines in the work is the occasional page of actual accountablility of the authors to the structual change of the capitalist system. What the work lacks more than anything else is simply outrage and a contemplation of 'how' we would go about changing the system. To my frustration, these authors spend most of their time debating minor points in each other's programs instead of putting forth a joint effort decapitating capitalism. In other words, they should have spent their efforts doing something else entirely.

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