The Rhetorical Foundations Of Society

The Rhetorical Foundations Of Society

by Ernesto Laclau
     
 

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The essays collected in this volume develop the theoretical perspective initiated in Laclau and Mouffe's classic Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, taking it in three principal directions. First, this book explores the specificity of social antagonisms and answers the question "What is an antagonistic relation?"—an issue which has become increasingly

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Overview

The essays collected in this volume develop the theoretical perspective initiated in Laclau and Mouffe's classic Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, taking it in three principal directions. First, this book explores the specificity of social antagonisms and answers the question "What is an antagonistic relation?"—an issue which has become increasingly crucial in our globalized world, where the proliferation of conflicts and points of rupture is eroding their links to the social subjects postulated by classical social analysis. This leads Laclau to a second line of questioning: "What is the ontological terrain that allows us to understand the nature of social relations in our heterogeneous world?" This is a task he addresses with theoretical instruments drawn from analytical philosophy and from the phenomenological and structuralist traditions. Finally, central to the argument of the book is the basic role attributed to rhetorical tropes—metaphor, metonymy, catachresis—in shaping the "non-foundational" grounds of society.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
06/02/2014
This rich collection of essays arrives sadly in the wake of the passing of its esteemed Argentine author, one of the world's eminent political philosophers. Here, Laclau deftly imbricates questions of rhetoric with his continued ruminations on political hegemony and, through various themes, examines the role language plays in establishing and perpetuating society. This frames signifiers, metaphor, and metonymy not as figures of speech but as indispensible inscriptions on our access to the world. Though the text draws on an array of themes and thinkers, Laclau responds in depth to Althusser, Zizek, Gramsci, Agamben, de Man, and Badiou. The essays themselves differ in subject matter from the more semantically rooted, such as his discussion of mysticism and the name of God or the treatment of metaphor in Proust, to the more political such as his discussion of the Solidarnosc (Solidarity) movement in Poland. Laclau's sweeping expertise provides the reader with numerous possibilities to pursue further research without requiring the reader to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of any of the thinkers or discourses discussed. Dense without being abstruse, this book is notably digestible considering its complexity. Laclau's illuminative intertwining of philosophy, politics, and literary analysis renders the book engaging and accessible on various levels. (June)
From the Publisher
Praise for On Populist Reason:

"What needs to be politically articulated at the present time is the possibility of a leftist populism. This is what makes Laclau's long-awaited book so important. Arguably, populism has always been the governing concept in Laclau's work and in On Populist Reason, he lays out his position with great power and analytical clarity."—Simon Critchley

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781781681701
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
05/20/2014
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
893,564
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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