The strategic turn in post-Marxist Discourse Theory

Thomas Jacobs, PhD Researcher at Ghent University

Alan Williams tweeted a few years ago that for having a book entitled Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (HSS) as magnum opus, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe had remarkably little to say about political strategy. Indeed, while the concept of strategy features regularly in HSS, it is not crucial to understanding the book’s central argument. It remains equally low-key in their later work, and is all but absent in most of the secondary literature in post-Marxist Discourse Theory published in the quarter-century post-HSS.

Yet recently, something resembling a strategic turn can be discerned within Discourse Theory (DT). In Germany, Martin Nonhoff started working on a rigorous theorization of strategy that fits within DT’s ontology. Eva Herschinger reappraised the notion for the first-time for an Anglophone audience. The hugely influential Inventing the Future by Srnicek and Williams placed strategic reflection about how progressives win at politics in the 21st century at the centre of its argument. And to make the circle full, Chantal Mouffe’s most recent work, For a Left-Wing Populism, wonders what kind of political strategy the Left needs to pursue in order to successfully implement its progressive projects.

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Populism: What’s in a name?

In 2018 the most used and abused term was undoubtedly that of ‘populism’.

Professor Ronaldo Munck

Rarely has a term been so over-inflated and so over-extended that it has become practically meaningless, while at the same time achieving iconic status. I propose here to carry out a (very) brief deconstruction of the term populism and the presentation of an alternative reading based on the work of the late Ernesto Laclau (On Populist Reason) and my own Latin American in Europe hybrid viewpoint.

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The Limits of EUrope

‘The Limits of EUrope’ special edition of Global Discourse is out this month… Co-editor Russell Foster previews the edition:

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Russell Foster, Co-Editor of Global Discourse: EUrope Special Edition.

‘EUrope’ is changing. In the most visible way this change has recently manifested itself in a drawn-out Brexit which will satisfy no-one, the rise of Euroscepticism and illiberal democracies in response to immigration and integration failures, a potentially resurgent eurozone crisis and continuing economic disparities across the EU, and mounting perceptions of a democratic deficit and the (il)legitimacy of EU institutions. These raise many difficult questions, the hardest of which is – can the EU survive?

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