HomeRepresentation. Antagonism. Populism. Exploring Laclau’s Political Legacy

HomeRepresentation. Antagonism. Populism. Exploring Laclau’s Political Legacy

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Published on Monday, September 22, 2014


The present editorial attempt is meant to evaluate Laclau’s political legacy based on our assumption that at least three overarching concepts are to be explored: representation, antagonism and populism.



Ernesto Laclau (1935-2014) was one of the most important political philosophers of the post-Cold War period. His ideas about "radical democracy" and populism influenced politicians and activists of the ‘New Left’ all over the world. His essays and books proposed a highly original and deeply substantive theoretical approach that determined the emergence of a new field of research most frequently called discourse theory.

Laclau’s reformulation of the Marxist theory in the light of the 1989 fall of communism in Eastern Europe is one of the most thorough, courageous but also controversial demarches within the last decades’ left-wing academia. Pursuing his illustrious precursor’s insistence on the supra-structural components of social and political domination within the capitalist society, Laclau updated and refined Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony while inscribing it in a quasi-representational and discursive reading of the world.

The present editorial attempt is meant to evaluate Laclau’s political legacy based on our assumption that at least three overarching concepts are to be explored: representation, antagonism and populism. Consequently we conceive this volume in four parts. In the first, we welcome contributions that will analyze Laclau’s concept of representation, from his interpretable account of the relation between free and floating signifiers to the narrative-metaphoric articulation of the social identities. The second part will include chapters that deal with Laclau’s equally problematic concept of antagonism and will concentrate on issues such as the decisional construction of political frontiers, the nature of the discursively projected adversary or processes of exclusion and inclusion within political identities. The third part will include contributions dealing with the issue of populism; contributors will approach issues such as the ontological dimension of populist politics, the new foundations of radical democracy, the operationalization of Laclau’s concept of populism in contemporary politics. Finally, in the fourth part, we will try to apprehend the legacy of Ernesto Laclau in relation with other theoretical currents, such as Marxism or Cosmopolitanism.

Papers that have already been accepted, by section:


In “Representation without a Representative. On Laclau’s concept of empty signifier”, Dana Trif puts the focus on the complementary articulation of representation and empty signifiers. In his contribution, “The Making of Hegemonic Referents”, Emilian Cioc proposes a reinterpretation of the theory of hegemony as an originary institution, paying a special attention to the problem of discourse performativity.


Codrin Taut’s chapter “Can Laclau’s antagonism explain political struggles?” is aiming to reframe the debate between Laclau’s version of antagonism and his critics. This contribution will consist in a comparative analysis of Laclau’s notion of antagonism, Rancière’s disagreement and Lyotard’s differend. The author proposes a different way to interrogate the intersection between the ontological or structural possibility of antagonism and the ontical or empirical manifestation of conflicts.


Camil Parvu in “Rhetoric, hegemony and the constitution of the people: Ernesto Laclau on the possibility of radical politics” delineates the theoretical and practical contours of Laclau’s political radicalism, discussing the current debates raging around therm.

Sergiu Miscoiu will argue in his chapter called “The populist 'nature' of politics?” that, because of Laclau's rhetorical and antagonistic definition of the political, politics could only be populist. For that, he will use both theoretical elements of demonstration and meaningful examples extracted from contemporary political developments.

Beyond Laclau

In “Laclau's critique of Marx: a reappraisal”, Alexandru Cistelecan will analyse Laclau’s critical engagement with Marx and Marxism. The author is concerned with two aspects: the presumed contradiction in Marx, between a 'deterministic' logic and a more undetermined political one; and the alleged autonomy of the political that defines Laclau’s post-marxist position.

The laclauian version of ideology and its relation to the notion of hegemony is the core theme of Ciprian Bogdan’s “From (Critique of) Ideology to Hegemony and Back Again: (Filling) the Gap between Adorno and Laclau”. The author strategy is to read Laclau’s political theory through the lens of Theodor Adorno.

In “Cosmopolitan empty signifiers? Exploring Laclau’s Legacy for a Possible Theory of Cosmopolitanism” Tamara Caraus make a case for the notion of radical cosmopolitanism, notion which is consistent with Laclau’s assumptions of contingency and historicity of the political.

Contributors are invited to propose articles that will cover different aspects that are not directly targeted by the already-accepted papers and fall under the general thematic interest of one of the sections described here-above. The extensive contributions should be of 8000-10000 words

Guidelines submission

In this first phase, interested contributors are invited to send the titles of the chapters, 5 key-words, 10-row abstracts, 3-row bio notes

before September 30, 2014.


  • Sergiu Miscoiu, political scientist, PhD Habil. Assoc. Prof. at the Faculty of European Studies, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj (Romania), Assoc. Prof. and PhD tutor at the Paris-Est Univerity (France), E-mail: miscoiu@yahoo.com
  • Codrin Taut, philosopher, PhD post-doctoral researcher at the Romanian Academy, Iasi Institute  (Romania), E-mail:  tautcodrin@yahoo.fr


  • Tuesday, September 30, 2014


  • Codrin Taut
    courriel : tautcodrin [at] yahoo [dot] fr

Information source

  • Codrin Taut
    courriel : tautcodrin [at] yahoo [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Representation. Antagonism. Populism. Exploring Laclau’s Political Legacy », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, September 22, 2014, https://calenda.org/299895

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