Is ‘Another World’ Possible? Laclau, Mouffe and Social Movements

Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey

in The Politics of Radical Democracy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780748633999
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652723 | DOI:
Is ‘Another World’ Possible? Laclau, Mouffe and Social Movements

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This chapter presents a provocative, Deleuzian-inspired critique of Laclau and Mouffe that centres on two perceived deficiencies with their thought: first, its statism and second, its defence of (what Deleuze terms) despotic signification. The central charge is that Laclau and Mouffe assume a single mode of doing politics: one based on representation. This mode not only preserves the framework of liberal democracy rather than radicalising it. It is also contradicted empirically by the many radical social movements that conduct their politics in ways other than those outlined by Laclau and Mouffe. The chapter ends with a brief sketch of their ‘horizontalist’ alternative to radical democracy.

Keywords: statism; despotic signification; Deleuze; liberal democracy; radical social movements

Chapter.  9953 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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