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The Post-Political and Its Discontents

Spaces of Depoliticisation, Spectres of Radical Politics

Edited by Japhy Wilson, Erik Swyngedouw

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An exploration of the post-politics of global capitalism in theory and practice

Our age is celebrated as the triumph of liberal democracy. Old ideological battles have been decisively resolved in favour of freedom and the market. We are told that we have moved ‘beyond left and right’; that we are ‘all in this together’. Any remaining differences are to be addressed through expert knowledge, consensual deliberation and participatory governance. Yet the ‘end of history’ has also been marked by widespread disillusion with mainstream politics and a rise in nationalist and religious fundamentalisms. And now an explosion of popular protests is challenging technocratic regulation and the power of markets in the name of democracy itself.

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List of Contributors
Seeds of Dystopia: Post-Politics and the Return of the Political, Japhy Wilson and Erik Swyngedouw
Part I Spaces of Depoliticisation
1. The Post-Politics of Sustainability Planning: Privatisation and the Demise of Democratic Government, Mike Raco
2. The Post-Political and the End of Nature: The Genetically Modified Organism, Larry Reynolds and Bronislaw Szerszynski
3. The New Development Architecture and the Post- Political in the Global South, Sangeeta Kamat
4. Opening Up the Post-Political Condition: Multiculturalism and the Matrix of Depoliticisation, Nicolas Van Puymbroeck and Stijn Oosterlynck
5. The Jouissance of Philanthrocapitalism: Enjoyment as a Post-Political Factor, Japhy Wilson
6. Religious Antinomies of Post-Politics, Bülent Diken
7. Post-Ecologist Governmentality: Post-Democracy, Post-Politics and the Politics of Unsustainability, Ingolfur Blühdorn
Part II Spectres of Radical Politics
8. Insurgent Architects, Radical Cities and the Promise of the Political, Erik Swyngedouw
9. The Limits of Post-Politics: Rethinking Radical Social Enterprise, Wendy Larner
10. Neither Cosmopolitanism nor Multipolarity: The Political Beyond Global Governmentality, Hans-Martin Jaeger
11. Against a Speculative Leftism, Alex Loftus
12. Spatialising Politics: Antagonistic Imaginaries of Indignant Squares, Maria Kaika and Lazaros Karaliotas
13. After Post-Politics: Occupation and the Return of Communism, Jodi Dean
14. The Enigma of Revolt: Militant Politics in a ‘Post- Political’ Age, Andy Merrifield
There Is No Alternative, Erik Swyngedouw and Japhy Wilson

About the Author

Japhy Wilson is Research Coordinator at the National Strategic Centre for the Right to Territory (CENEDET) in Quito, Ecuador. His research explores the intertwining of space, power and ideology in the politics of international development. He has published in academic journals in the the fields of political economy, human geography, and development studies. He is the author of Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case of Dr. Shock and Mr. Aid (Verso 2014).

Erik Swyngedouw is Professor of Geography at Manchester University. His research interests include critical theory, political-ecology, urban governance, democracy and political power, and the politics of globalisation. His was previously professor of geography at Oxford University (until 2006) and held the Vincent Wright Visiting Professorship in Political Science at Science Po, Paris, 2014. He is the author of Liquid Power: Contested Hydro-Modernities in Twentieth-Century Spain (MIT Press, 2015).


An excellent collection of theoretically innovative and empirically rich essays on practices of depoliticisation and repoliticisation, ranging from the everyday to the spectacular, The Post-Political and Its Discontents shows that liberal democracy and consensus building do not exhaust all political possibilities and futures.
- Mustafa Dikeç, Institut Français d’Urbanisme, Paris

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