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Ernesto Laclau

Ernesto Laclau


Birkbeck College, University of London

Birkbeck Institute for Humanities

Malet Street

London WC1E 7HX

Friday, December 4th and Saturday, December 5th, 2915

This conference will celebrate the life and work of Ernesto Laclau, who died last year. Originally from Argentina, his ideas about radical democracy and populism influenced grassroots activists, thinkers and politicians from Latin America’s new left to Greece, Spain and Great Britain. His highly original essays and books “drew on the work of Antonio Gramsci to probe the assumptions of Marxism, and to illuminate the modern history of Latin America”, as Robin Blackburn wrote in his obituary, as well as Europe. As he says, “with collaborators including his wife, Chantal Mouffe, and the cultural theorist Stuart Hall, Laclau played a key role in reformulating Marxist theory in the light of the collapse of communism and failure of social democracy. His “post-Marxist” manifesto Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), written with Mouffe, was translated into 30 languages, and sales ran into six figures.” Indeed, as Blackburn points out “Laclau believed that the European left had much to learn from Latin America, with its spirit of self-criticism and innovation. He argued that the left should not be embarrassed by charges of populism, whether directed at Chávez or at the Greek left wing party Syriza. It was crucial to distinguish between right wing populism masquerading wholesale privatization and scapegoating from left-wing programmes of “urbanisation” that introduce or defend social and economic justice combining self-government with the transformation of the relation between the state and the people at its base.

All sessions are 90 minutes. Presentations should be no longer than 30 minutes each.


Friday, December 4th

Embassy of Argentina 65 Brook Street, W1 K4AH

12.00-14.00:        Registration and Coffee,

14.00 -14.30:       Opening Comments

Ambassador Alicia Castro

Oscar Guardiola (Birkbeck Institute for Humanities)

14.30 – 16.00:

Oliver Marchart (Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf) Laclau’s Political Ontology

Nancy Fraser (New School) Thinking Antagonism: On the Political Contradictions of Financial Capital (BY SKYPE)

16.30 – 18.00

Letitia Sabsay (LSE) The Rhetorical Foundations of Society

Lasse Thomassen (Birkbeck) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy 30 years after: three research agendas

18.30:         Vin d´honneur


Saturday, December 5th,

Birkbeck Institute for Humanities

9.00: Coffee

9.30 – 11:00:

Jean-Claude Monod (CNRS) The part and the whole: metaphor and metonymy in the rhetorical construction of the People

Yannis Stavrakakis (Thessaloniki) Theorising populism in light of the Greek Financial Crisis


Rada Iveković (Paris) Around the somewhat meditative rhetoric of Ernesto Laclau

Ricardo Camargo (Universidad de Chile) Articulation and Assault in Laclau’s Politics

13.00-14.00:        LUNCH


Paula Biglieri (University of Buenos Aires) Populism and Emancipation

Mark Devenney (University of Brighton) The New Hegemony: Resisting Financial and Actuarial Capital


Fabienne Brugère (Université Paris 8) Is Feminism Populism?

Jeremy Gilbert (Uni. of East London) What is a demand? The subject of politics in the later Laclau

17.30 – 18.00:     CLOSING COMMENTS



Ernesto Laclau

Ernesto Laclau


‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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