By Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau
In a compelling and strange test, 3 eminent theorists have interaction in a discussion on vital questions of up to date philosophy and politics. Their essays, geared up as separate contributions that reply to each other, diversity over the Hegelian legacy in modern severe thought, the theoretical dilemmas of multiculturalism, the universalism-versus-particularism debate, the ideas of the Left in a globalized financial system, and the relative benefits of post-structuralism and Lacanian psychoanalysis for a severe social thought. whereas the rigor and intelligence with which those writers technique their paintings is bold, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality advantages also from their transparent experience of strength and delight in a revealing and infrequently unpredictable exchange.
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Additional resources for Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left
The propositional sense of the copula must be replaced with the speculative one. It may seem that such a temporalized conception of universality has little to do with the region of politics, but consider the political risks of maintaining a static conception, one that fails to accommodate challenge, one that refuses to respond to its own constitutive exclusions. T h u s we can come to some preliminary conclusions about Hegel's procedure here: (1) universality is a n a m e which undergoes significant accruals and reversals of meaning, and cannot be reduced to any of its constitutive 'moments'; (2) it is inevitably haunted by the trace of the particular thing to which it is opposed, and this takes the form (a) of a spectral doubling of universality, and (b) a clinging of that particular thing to universality itself, exposing the formalism of its claim as necessarily impure; (3) the relation of universality to its cultural articulation is insuperable; this means that any transcultural notion of the universal will be spectralized and stained by the cultural norms it purports to transcend; and (4) no notion of universality can rest easily within the notion of a single 'culture', since the very concept of universality compels an understanding of culture as a relation of exchange and a task of translation.
T h a t universality is not speakable outside of a cultural language, but its articulation does not imply that an adequate language is available. It means only that when we speak its name, we do not escape our language, although we can - and must push the limits. Notes 1. Ernesto Laclau and C h a n t a i MoufFe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, L o n d o n and N e w York: Verso 1985. 2. Seyla Benhabib, Critique, Norm, and Utopia: A Study of the Foundations of Critical Theory (New York: C o l u m b i a University Press 1986, pp.
1 think we have to inscribe these a p p a r e n t (or p e r h a p s real) textual hesitations within the context of a wider question: to what extent does a 'collective will' belong to the state or to civil society, to the pre-political or to the political sphere? Let us consider Bobbio's assertion that for Gramsci the ethico-political is the m o m e n t of freedom conceived as consciousness of necessity. This assimilation - whether we can attribute it to Gramsci or not - is clearly too hasty.
Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left by Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau