In Emancipation(s), Ernesto Laclau addresses a central question: how have the changes of the last decade, together with the transformation in contemporary thought, altered the classical notion of "emancipation" as formulated since the Enlightenment? Our visions of the future and our expectations of emancipation, have been deeply affected by the changes of recent history: the end of the Cold War, the explosion of new ethnic and national identities, the social fragmentation under late capitalism, and the collapse of universal certainties in philosophy and social and historical thought. Laclau here begins to explore precisely how our visions of emancipation have been recast under these new conditions.
Laclau examines the internal contradictions of the notion of "emancipation" as it emerged from the mainstream of modernity, as well as the relation between universalism and particularism which is inherent in it. He explores the making of political identities and the status of central notions in political theory such as "representation" and "power," focusing particularly on the work of Derrida and Rorty. Emancipation(s) is a significant contribution to the reshaping of radical political thought.
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absent fullness absolute ambiguity antagonism antagonistic anti-foundationalism apartheid argument articulation assert becomes chain of equivalences Chantal Mouffe chasm classical notion communitarian concrete content condition contemporary contingent critique cultural decision deconstruction demands democracy Derrida dichotomic dimension dichotomy differential identity dimension of ground discourse dislocation emancipatory empty place empty signifier equivalential Ernesto Laclau eschatologies essential etcetera ethical exclusion existing forces foundationalism freedom function groups hauntology Hegel hegemonic historical horizon impossible impossible object incompatible intervention involves ironist Jacques Derrida language games latter liberal democracy limits Marxist meaning messianic modernity movement negation notion of emancipation object ontological opaqueness operation opposite oppressed particular content PHRONESIS plurality political positive possible postmodern present presupposes proletariat pure Quentin Skinner question radical rational reason representation represented requires result role Rorty Rorty's sense social order spectrality spectre structure struggles terrain transcending transformation transparent undecidability unity universality and particularity vis-a-vis