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Reading List

Chantal Mouffe Bookshelf

Mouffe-

Chantal Mouffe is one of the foremost theorists of left politics, populism, and strategy. We collected some of her best titles below. 

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Chantal Mouffe's work has influenced political parties across Europe and continues to inform the direction of left politics. In this work, Mouffe argues that liberal democracy misunderstands the problems of ethnic, religious and nationalist conflicts because of its inadequate conception of politics.

By establishing a frontier between “the people” and “the oligarchy,” a left–populist strategy could bring together the manifold struggles against subordination, oppression and discrimination. This strategy acknowledges that democratic discourse plays a crucial role in the political imaginary of our societies. And through the construction of a collective will, mobilizing common affects in defence of equality and social justice, it will be possible to combat the xenophobic policies promoted by right-wing populism.

In this hugely influential book, Laclau and Mouffe examine the workings of hegemony and contemporary social struggles, and their significance for democratic theory. With the emergence of new social and political identities, and the frequent attacks on Left theory for its essentialist underpinnings, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy remains as relevant as ever, positing a much-needed antidote against 'Third Way' attempts to overcome the antagonism between Left and Right.

Developing her groundbreaking political philosophy of agnostics—the search for a radical and plural democracy—Chantal Mouffe examines international relations, strategies for radical politics, the future of Europe and the politics of artistic practices.

From the theory of ‘deliberative democracy’ to the politics of the ‘third way’, the present Zeitgeist is characterized by attempts to deny what Chantal Mouffe contends is the inherently conflictual nature of democratic politics. Far from being signs of progress, such ideas constitute a serious threat to democratic institutions. 

Carl Schmitt’s thought serves as a warning against the dangers of complacency entailed by triumphant liberalism. His conception of politics is a sharp challenge to those who believe that the blurring of frontiers between the left and right and the increasing mobilization of political discourse constitute great advances for democracy. Schmitt reminds us forcefully that the essence of politics is a struggle and that the distinction between friend and enemy cannot be abolished.

These essays set out to examine what types of “citizen” and “community” might be required by such a radical and plural democracy. From a range of disciplines and a fruitful diversity of theoretical perspectives, the contributors help us to address the following challenge: how to defend the greatest possible pluralism without destroying the very framework of the democratic political community.