Politics on the Edges of Liberalism: Difference, Populism, Revolution, Agitation

Politics on the Edges of Liberalism: Difference, Populism, Revolution, Agitation

by Benjamin Arditi

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This book tackles four key areas in contemporary politics which work at 'the edges of liberalism': difference, populism, revolution and agitation-emancipation. Each of these phenomena is selected because they push the envelope of liberalism or seek to go against and beyond it. Difference is explored in the context of the politics of the culture wars and its celebration of particularism over universalism. Populism is seen as a spectre of liberal democracy, able to both accompany it and haunt it. Agitation is considered in tandem with emancipatory politics and in relation to revolutionary politics. The final chapter aims to vindicate the use of revolution for contemporary thought, challenging the existing liberal democratic consensus.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780748636372
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Benjamin Arditi is Professor of Political Theory at the National University of Mexico

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Foreword viii

Introduction: the Edges as an Internal Periphery 1

1 The Underside of Difference and the Limits of Particularism 10

Semiotics and Some Programmatic Consequences of the Culture Wars 10

A Post-Modern Society? Vattimo's Wager 16

A More Cautious Optimism 21

The Underside of Disorientation 24

The Underside of Multiplicity 29

Universals, the Discourse of Rights and Liberalism 34

2 Populism as a Spectre of Democracy 42

Populism and Democracy 42

The Gap between Faith and Scepticism and the Elusiveness of Populism 46

Spectral Recurrences 49

3 Populism as an Internal Periphery of Democratic Politics 54

The Verbal Smoke Surrounding Populism 54

Populism as a Mode of Representation 60

Populism as a Symptom of Democratic Politics 74

Populism as an Underside of Democracy 81

4 Stirred and Shaken. From 'the Art of the Possible' to Emancipatory Politics 88

The Realist Coding of the Possible 90

The Impossible as Supplement 93

Agitation as Unveiling/Translation 96

Emancipation, Revolutionizing and the Interstitial Region of Politics 100

5 Talkin' 'bout a Revolution: the End of Mourning 107

The Mourning After 107

Polemicizing the Limit: how Radical does a Radical Change have to Be? 110

The Play between the Promise and the Figure 118

Revolutionary Realism as Enthusiasm for the Impossible 124

Figures of the Promise and the Iterability of Revolution 132

Postcards of a Socialist Imaginary 139

Bibliography 148

Index 159

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