Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left

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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 separate contributions 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-structumalism and Lacanian psychoanalysis for a critical social theory. While the rigour and intelligence with which these writers approach their work is formidable, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality benefits additionally from their clear sense of energy and enjoyment in a revealing and often unpredictable exchange.
 

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This is must read if you are interested in any of these thinkers. Butler's contributions are as usual interesting, well written and cogent. However these contributions have largely been ignored by ... Read full review

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Contents

Introduction
1
Questions
5
Hegemony and the Limits of Formalism
11
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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About the author (2000)

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 Zizek 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 Zizek 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 Zizek, and many more.

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