The Rhetorical Foundations of Society

The Rhetorical Foundations of Society

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Coauthor of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy shows how rhetoric constitutes the social order

The essays collected in this volume develop the theoretical perspective initiated in Laclau and Chantal Mouffe's classic Hegemony and Socialist Strategy.

Central to the argument of The Rhetorical Foundations of Society is the establishment of rhetorical tropes—such as metaphor, metonymy and catachresis—as the "non-foundational" grounds of society. From this basis, Laclau explores the state of social relations in today's heterogeneous society. Employing analytical philosophy from both phenomenological and structuralist traditions, he seeks to locate an ontological terrain for interpersonal relationships. Further, he investigates the definition of social antagonism in an increasingly globalized world, where the proliferation of conflicts and points of rupture erodes crucial links between the social subjects postulated by classical social analysis.

Reviews

  • What needs to be politically articulated at the present time is the possibility of a leftist populism. This is what makes Laclau’s long-awaited book so important. Arguably, populism has always been the governing concept in Laclau’s work and in On Populist Reason, he lays out his position with great power and analytical clarity.

    Simon Critchley, in praise of On Populist Reason