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Why do empty signifiers matter to politicians

In Slavoj Žižek (ed.), Jacques Lacan: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory. Routledge. pp. 3--305 (2003)

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  1. Toward an Inclusive Populism? On the Role of Race and Difference in Laclau’s Politics.B. L. McKean & Benjamin McKean - 2016 - Political Theory 44 (6):797-820.
    Does the recent success of Podemos and Syriza herald a new era of inclusive, egalitarian left populism? Because leaders of both parties are former students of Ernesto Laclau and cite his account of populism as guiding their political practice, this essay considers whether his theory supports hope for a new kind of populism. For Laclau, the essence of populism is an “empty signifier” that provides a means by which anyone can identify with the people as a whole. However, the concept (...)
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  • Subject, Enjoyment, Hegemony: A Discussion of Ernesto Laclau’s Interpretation of Empty Signifiers and the Real as Impossible in Lacanian Psychoanalysis.Francisco Conde Soto - 2020 - Continental Philosophy Review 53 (2):197-208.
    Ernesto Laclau’s theory of hegemony interprets in a peculiar way two central concepts of Lacanian psychoanalysis: the signifier and the real. Laclau maintains that signifiers are per se tendentially empty and that there is some constituting impossibility in every social system, that is, some real in the Lacanian sense. This paper levels two criticisms at this interpretation. Firstly, Lacan never employs the concept “empty signifier”: His definition of the signifier as that which represents a subject—and his enjoyment—for another signifier contradicts (...)
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  • Health Equity’s Missing Substance: (Re)Engaging the Normative in Public Health Discourse and Knowledge Making.Adam Wildgen & Keith Denny - 2020 - Public Health Ethics 13 (3):247-258.
    Since 1984, the idea of health equity has proliferated throughout public health discourse with little mainstream critique for its variability and distance from its original articulation signifying social transformation and a commitment to social justice. In the years since health equity’s emergence and proliferation, it has taken on a seemingly endless range of invocations and deployments, but it most often translates into proactive and apolitical discourse and practice. In Margaret Whitehead’s influential characterization, achieving health equity requires determining what is inequitable (...)
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  • El buen vivir y la crítica del universalismo abstracto.Edwin Cruz - 2017 - Cuadernos de Filosofía Latinoamericana 37 (115):177.
    Este artículo reconstruye la crítica que desde el proyecto del VBBV se puede plantear al universalismo abstracto encarnado en el discurso del desarrollo. El argumento central es que el VBBV se constituye como una alternativa a la crisis ambiental y civilizatoria contemporánea que, frente al universalismo abstracto del discurso desarrollista, reivindica un diálogo intercultural para construir relaciones de complementariedad y convivencia entre seres humanos y entre éstos y la naturaleza. En primer lugar, se examina el desarrollo como un ejemplo de (...)
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  • The Role of Waste in Modern Political Philosophy.Sarah Magdelene Gorman - 2019 - Dissertation, Vanderbilt University
    In my dissertation, I engage in a political history of waste; in particular I look at modern philosophers from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and the way that waste functions alongside narratives of civilization, progress, and perfection. I analyze the political, pedagogical, and other theories of John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant. I use Julia Kristevaâs concept of abjection to trace the legacies of these philosophers to the continued and continuing practices of wasting life their work (...)
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  • Adorno's Arcades Orthodoxy.Luis A. Recoder - 2019 - Berlin Journal of Critical Theory 3 (2):49-60.
    Theodor W. Adorno’s letter correspondence with Walter Benjamin throughout the decade of the 1930’s entertains the central question concerning the possibility of philosophy in their intellectual milieu. The fate of this possibility for Adorno hinges on Benjamin’s work-in-progress Das Passagen-Werk—a fate that is catastrophically blocked by an uncritical tendency convicted repeatedly by the former as “undialectical.” And yet Adorno obstinately persists in clinging to the canon of a philosophically overdetermined demand he endearingly calls “my Arcades orthodoxy.” The threatening destruction of (...)
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  • Surviving Finitude: Survival as a Constructed Foundation of Identity.Ott Puumeister - 2018 - Sign Systems Studies 46 (1):90-116.
    The article deals with the biopolitical underpinnings of the Estonian national identity construction which is analysed by concentrating on public media coverage of the Estonian Population and Housing Census 2011; and the passing of the Registered Partnership Act in 2014. The object of analysis is the discourse – or the manner of speaking – that becomes apparent in the discussion of these cases. It is called the discourse of survival, since the main aim of national identity construction is to ensure (...)
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  • On the Final Possibility of Resistance, Progress and Avant-Garde.Oliver Marchart - 1995 - Filozofski Vestnik 16 (2).
    The category of political resp. artistic avant-garde – as being progressive, sectarian and dogmatic – is under assault. However, there is no emancipatory politics feasible without any Jacobin element. In order to develop a post-avant-garde democratic strategy everything depends on our ability to establish the paradoxes of a non-teleological progressivism, an empty and relative universalism and an asymmetric particularism. This search for a political stand, which has not yet lost any idea of the New as the empty signifier of Order, (...)
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