par Borriello, Arthur ;Jäger, Anton
Référence Theory & event, 23, 3, page (740-764)
Publication Publié, 2020-07-01
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : This paper offers a critical assessment of ErnestoLaclau’s theory of populism in light of recent populist politics.Following the 2008 crisis and its fallout, Laclau’s writings haveenjoyed both practical and theoretical prominence, inspiringmovements from Podemos to La France insoumise and an energeticsection of discourse theory. Recent events, however, seemto testify to the exhaustion of his populist imaginary. Examplesinclude Podemos’ internal tensions and its uneasy cohabitationwith the Spanish Socialists and Syriza’s troubled European pact,while discourse theorists have reconsidered some of the tradition’stenets. This paper investigates this cul-de-sac and hints at possibleescape routes. It does so by examining two possible deficits inLaclau’s theory of populism as presented in On Populist Reason: (1)a tension between verticality and horizontality in Laclau’s variantof “leadership democracy” and (2) a descriptive and normative“hyperformalism.” The first deficit is explicated with reference torecent developments in European party-systems and how theserestructure patterns of political engagement across party lines.The second digs deeper into Laclau’s earlier oeuvre for the rootsof formalism and insights sidelined in his later work. The paperfinishes with suggestions for a research agenda for post-Laclauianpopulism.