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Benjamin McKean
Ohio State University
  1.  68
    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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  2.  88
    What Makes a Utopia Inconvenient? On the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Realist Orientation to Politics.Benjamin McKean - 2016 - American Political Science Review 110 (4):876-888.
    Contemporary politics is often said to lack utopias. For prevailing understandings of the practical force of political theory, this looks like cause for celebration. As blueprints to apply to political practice, utopias invariably seem too strong or too weak. Through an immanent critique of political realism, I argue that utopian thought, and political theory generally, is better conceived as supplying an orientation to politics. Realists including Bernard Williams and Raymond Geuss explain how utopian programs like universal human rights poorly orient (...)
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  3.  27
    Ideal Theory After Auschwitz? The Practical Uses and Ideological Abuses of Political Theory as Reconciliation.Benjamin McKean - 2017 - Journal of Politics 79 (4):1177-1190.
    Contemporary debates about ideal and nonideal theory rest on an underlying consensus that the primary practical task of political theory is directing action. This overlooks other urgent practical work that theory can do, including showing how injustice can be made bearable and how resisting it can be meaningful. I illustrate this important possibility by revisiting the purpose for which John Rawls originally developed the concept of ideal theory: reconciling a democratic public to living in a flawed world that may otherwise (...)
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