Politics and ideology in Marxist theory: Capitalism, fascism, populism
by Ernesto Laclau
Verso, London, 1979
‘Populism’ is a concept both elusive and recurrent. Few terms have been so widely used in contemporary political analysis, although few have been defined with less precision. We know intuitively to what we are referring when we call a movement or an ideology populist, but we have the greatest difficulty in translating the intutition into concepts. This has often led to an ad hoc kind of practice : the term continues to be used in a merely allusive way and any attempt to ascertain its content is renounced. David Apter. for example, referring to the new political regimes of the Third World states: ‘What we are witnessing in the world today is a range of accommodated political systems. Even the toughest of them is weak. Even the most monolithic in forms tends to be divided in its practices and diluted in its ideas. Few are totalitarian . Almost all are populist and, in a real sense, mainly predemocratic rather than antidemocratic’. (from the beginning of “Towards a Theory of Populism” part)
The Populism Reader
by Lars Larsen, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Cristina Ricupero
Stenberg Press, New York, 2005
The Populism Reader accompanies Populism, an exhibition project in four European cities (Vilnius, Oslo, Amsterdam, Frankfurt am Main) exploring the relationships between contemporary art and current populist cultural and political trends. Conceived as an anthology, the publication comprises essays covering various aspects and approaches to the populist experience. The book is designed by M/M (Paris) and illustrated by Atelier Van Lieshout; contributions stem from amongst others activists, journalists, art critics, philosophers and political scientists. The Populism Reader goes beyond academic styles in order to respond to historical and current aspects of the populist experience, as they surface in relation to art, activism, the role of the intellectual, political desires, religion and other issues.
Texts by Marius Babias, Ina Blom, Anthony Davies, Mads Ted Drud-Jensen & Lars Erik Frank, Simon Frith, Brian Holmes, Ernesto Laclau, Dieter Lesage, Bart Lootsma, Chantal Mouffe, Vanessa Joan Müller, Iver B. Neumann, Ingo Niermann, Piotr Piotrowski, Pierre-André Taguieff, Niels Werber, Audrone Zukauskaite
The Populism Catalogue
by Cristina Ricupero, Lars Bang Larson
Stenberg Press, New York, 2005
The Populism Catalogue documents the four exhibitions at Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius; National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt/M. It features works of fiction as a literary approach to the theme of populism.
Artists: Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa, Fatma Akinçi, Petra Bauer, Bernadette Corporation, Marc Bijl, Jakob Boeskov, Phil Collins, Minerva Cuevas, Jeremy Deller, Dias & Riedweg, Wang Du, Gardar Eide Einarsson & Matias Faldbakken, Esto TV, Anita Fricek, Jens Haaning & Superflex, Russell Haswell, Henry Vlll’s Wives, Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Amar Kanwar, Per Kirkeby, Matthieu Laurette, Jani Leinonen, Erik van Lieshout, Mindaugas Lukosaitis, Annika Lundgren, Cildo Meireles, Sarah Morris, Begoña Muñoz, Roman Ondak, Willem de Rooij, et al.
Pop or Populus.Art Between High and Low
by Bettina Funcke
Stenberg Press, New York, 2009
The alienation between modern high culture and its public is a fundamental conflict of art. This book develops a theory of contemporary art in response to our moment, when artists and critics must respond to art’s unprecedented popularity. Close readings of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Rancière, Theodor W. Adorno, Clement Greenberg, Benjamin Buchloh, and Boris Groys provide the theoretical framework to comprehend a dialectic of art propelled by tension between the enduring history of art and the domineering presence of mass culture.
“In dialogue with some of the most interesting modern and contemporary philosophical figures, Bettina Funcke traces the divisions and alternations in twentieth-century art between high and low engagements with popular forms. She reveals fascinatingly how twentieth-century artists not only seek to engage the people but also problematize ‘the people’ as a political and cultural construct.” — Michael Hardt
Open 20: The Populist Imagination
by Jorinde Seijdel, Liesbeth Melis, Merijn Oudenampsen
NAI Publishers, Rotterdam, 2011
‘All power to the imagination!’ Is one of the most famous slogans of the revolt of May 1968. Those who have hijacked the imagination nowadays—whether Silvio Berlusconi of the Tea Party movement or the Dutch politician Geert Wilders—have altogether different intentions.
Right-wing populist movements are storming the political stage in the USA and Europe. The imaginations of their citizenry are being put to work in order to sharpen and fix identities, cultivate myth, and stir desire for an imaginary past.
With an introduction by Merijn Oudenampsen (guest editor), the ensemble of authors in this issue of Open deal with the imagination, storytelling and myth in populism and politics today. Stephen Duncombe argues for a dreampolitik that can stir the imagination with impossible dreams; while Yves Citton maintains our need for new, emancipating myths in order steer a course for the future of our society. Aukje van Rooden further wonders whether the greatest myth in contemporary politics is our assumption that we can function without a mythological structure. However, the writers’ collective Wu Ming asks: To what extent is the political use of myths justified? The populist imagination is what Willem Schinkel sees chiefly as a means of criticism for the survival of democracy; while Nina Power prefers an authentic popularity over the sham popularity dished up by the media. And Rudi Laermans’ interview with Ernesto Laclau puts a double spotlight on populist politics and parliamentary impotence. Zooming in on the American political scene, Franco Berardi and Marco Jacquemet examine the success of Silvio Berlusconi and the resurfacing of forces from the Baroque Era in the current ‘semiocapitalistic’ system. Jolle Demmers and Sameer S. Mehendale, on the other hand, turn their attention to Europe, arguing the imperativeness of recognizing the relation between xenophobia and neoliberalism in the Netherlands.
The Populist Reason
by Ernesto Laclau
Verso, London, 2005
What are the political logics explaining the spread of populist experiences in the contemporary world? What is involved in constructing the idea of the people? And how does this construction relate to other forms of political subjectivity—classes, corporations and other forms of association?
Laclau’s analysis of populist experiences begins with a critique of current approaches to populism, illustrated by two essential cases: the formation of a popular identity in French Jacobinism, and the dissolution of such an identity in the aftermath of British Chartism. This is followed by a discussion of the classical theories of mass psychology—by Le Bon, Tarde, Freud, etc.—and of the role of the lumpenproletariat in Marx’s work. Finally Laclau examines a series of historical examples of populism, drawn mainly from American, Canadian, Argentinian and Turkish experiences.
The Democratic Paradox
by Chantal Mouffe
Verso, London, 2000
The Democratic Paradox is Chantal Mouffe’s most accessible and illuminating study of democracy’s sharp edges, fractures, and incongruities. Orienting her discussion within the debates over modern liberal democracy, Mouffe takes aim at John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas, and the consensus building of ‘third way’ politics to show how their conceptions of democracy fall victim to paralyzing contradictions. Against this background, Mouffe develops a rich conception of ‘agonistic pluralism’ that draws on Wittgenstein, Derrida, and the provocative theses of Carl Schmitt, attempting to reclaim the antagonism and conflict of radical democracy as its most vital, abiding feature.
The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-century Miller
by Carlo Ginzburg
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992
This is a microhistory of a sixteenth century Italian miller, whose heretical beliefs brought him to the attention of the Inquisition. Ginzburg uses the records of his trial to examine his personal theology and cosmology, and to examine to what extent we can recover a pre-modern “popular culture.”
In the past historians could be accused of wanting to know only about “the great deeds of kings”, but today this is certainly no longer true. More and more they are turning toward what their predecessors passed over in silence, discarded, or simply ignored. “Who built Thebes of the seven gates?” Bertold Brecht’s “literate worker” was already asking. The sources tell us nothing about these anonymous mason, but the question retains all its significance. (from the preface)
Populism and the Mirror of Democracy
by Francisco Panizza
W. W. Norton & Company, 2005
Populism raises awkward questions about modern forms of democracy. It often represents the ugly face of the people. It is neither the highest form of democracy nor its enemy. It is, rather, a mirror in which democracy may contemplate itself, warts and all, in a discovery of itself and what it lacks.
This definitive collection, edited by one of the world’s pre-eminent authorities on populism, Francisco Panizza, combines theoretical essays with a number of specially commissioned case studies on populist politics in the US, Britain, Canada, Western Europe, Palestine, Latin America and South Africa. A broadly shared understanding of the nature of populism gives the book a coherence rarely found in collective works and enhances the richness of the case studies.
Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism
by Umberto Eco
The time: 2000 to 2005, the years of neoconservatism, terrorism, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, the ascension of Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Umberto Eco’s response is a provocative, passionate, and witty series of essays—which originally appeared in the Italian newspapers La Repubblica and L’Espresso—that leaves no slogan unexa…moreThe time: 2000 to 2005, the years of neoconservatism, terrorism, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, the ascension of Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Umberto Eco’s response is a provocative, passionate, and witty series of essays—which originally appeared in the Italian newspapers La Repubblica and L’Espresso—that leaves no slogan unexamined, no innovation unexposed. What led us into this age of hot wars and media populism, and how was it sold to us as progress? Eco discusses such topics as racism, mythology, the European Union, rhetoric, the Middle East, technology, September 11, medieval Latin, television ads, globalization, Harry Potter, anti-Semitism, logic, the Tower of Babel, intelligent design, Italian street demonstrations, fundamentalism, The Da Vinci Code, and magic and magical thinking.
The famous author and respected scholar shows his practical, engaged side: an intellectual involved in events both local and global, a man concerned about taste, politics, education, ethics, and where our troubled world is headed.