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

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

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

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

Synopsis

Politics on the edges of liberalism refers to a grey zone where phenomena such as difference, populism, revolution and agitation turn the distinction between the inside and the outside of liberalism into a matter of dispute.Each chapter takes on one of these ideas, discussing the intellectual background animating the politics of the culture wars and its celebration of particularism over the universalism of classical liberal thought. Populism becomes a spectral recurrence rather than an outside of democracy. Agitation reappears in emancipatory politics, and the idea of revolution is thought through outside the Jacobin view of insurrection, overthrow and total re-foundation.This is truly interdisciplinary inquiry at the cutting edge of contemporary debates in politics, critical theory, philosophy and sociology. The author draws from an impressive range of thinkers such as Kant, Benjamin, Derrida, Freud, Schmitt, Rancière, Gramsci, Canovan, Oakeshott, Foucault, Vattimo, Laclau and

Excerpt

Whether in libraries or in front of a computer screen, intellectual labour tends to be a solitary enterprise accompanied by bouts of creative anxiety. Yet it also has a collective dimension, as we sometimes outline our preliminary ideas and intuitions in classes, circulate our drafts amongst friends and colleagues to hear their reactions, or submit them to the criticism of our peers at workshops and conferences. I have been fortunate enough to have had readers like Marta Lamas and the group of friends that met monthly in her house in Mexico City to discuss our work for over five years – Roger Bartra, Roberto Castro, Bolívar Echeverría, Fernando Escalante, Benjamin Mayer, Nora Rabotnik of and Ilán Semo. I also benefited from other readers, more scattered around the world, like Willem Assies, Margaret Canovan, Juan Martin and the anonymous referees of the journals that published earlier versions of these chapters. I thank them all for their generosity, although Nora deserves a special acknowledgement, as she was patient enough to read the drafts of several chapters, sometimes more than once, and to point out in her ever so subtle way some of the weaknesses in my arguments.

José Carlos Rodríguez, my friend, colleague and fellow traveller in Paraguayan political activism in the 1980s, is in many ways my intellectual alter ego. He revised virtually all the chapters, and while . . .

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