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Post-Foundational Political Thought

Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau

Oliver Marchart

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A wide-ranging overview of the emergence of post-foundationalism and a survey of the work of its key contemporary exponents

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Contents

Introduction: On the Absent Ground of the Social
1. The Contours of 'Left Heideggerianism': Post-Foundationalism and Contingency
2. Politics and the Political: Genealogy of a Conceptual Difference
3. Retracing the Political Difference: Jean-Luc Nancy
4. The Machiavellian Moment Retheorized: Claude Lefort
5. The State and the Politics of Truth: Alain Badiou
6. Political Difference and Ontological Difference: Ernesto Laclau
Conclusion: Founding Post-Foundational: A Political Ontology.

About the Author

Oliver Marchart is Professor of Sociology at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He is author of Post-Foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau (EUP, 2007) and co-editor (with Simon Critchley) of Laclau: A Critical Reader (2004). He is also author of six books written in German including Beginning Anew: Hannah Arendt, Revolution and Globalisation (2005), and Techno-Colonialism: Theory and Imaginary Cartography of Culture and the Media (2004).

Reviews

What Marchart does extremely well is to highlight the traits and lines of force that structure (or overdetermine) the extent to which so many thinkers are both indebted to and responsive to Heidegger, even when they claim to take (or rather to keep) their distances from him.
- Paul Bowman, Culture Machine
Very convincingly Marchart succeeds in systematically presenting the approaches of the "Links-Heideggerianer" (Heidegger’s disciples from the left). He portrays in a positive light what is most commonly criticized as their normative fault: The impossibility to derive a particular political system from the theory of politics.(translated from German)
- Journal für Phänomenologie
Marchart fruitfully illuminates the political difference and clarifies the overlaps and variations among what he designates 'post-foundational' political thought... Marchart has done a fine job in exploring and clarifying what has become a buzzword in radical theoretical discourse. This is a book that deserves to be read by all those who wish politics could be just that bit more political.
- James Martin, Goldsmiths, University of London, Contemporary Political Theory
Marchart is to be praised for rescuing the notion of post-foundationalism from the accusations of nihilism and anti-foundationalism as well as political difference and the political itself.
- Anya Topolski, KU Leuven, Political Studies Review
Oliver Marchart's work is a welcome contribution to the tradition as it offers a cohesive account of post-foundationalism... Combining an insightful and at times critical investigation of the philosophy and concepts behind this perspective, he makes a compelling case for what post-foundationalism is and how it should guide political thought and action... this is an excellent monograph, recommended to all those interested in critical theory. Furthermore, it is an invaluable resource for both newcomers and those more familiar with the approach.
- Peter Bloom, H-Ideas, H-Net
This book will make a valuable contribution in engaging students and academics with important debates in contemporary political theory… it is a clear, well-written and sophisticated introduction, one that will be welcomed by students and university teachers alike.
- Dr Majid Yar, University of Kent at Canterbury
There is a real need for a book like this. Marchart is a patient author. He explains things slowly and clearly to his reader. And what he explains is surely of interest to those of us who work in the interstices of political theory and Continental (especially post-Heideggerian) philosophy.
- Professor Linda Zerilli, Northwestern University

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