Contingency, Hegemony, Universality

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues On The Left
Authors Judith Butler
Ernesto Laclau
Slavoj Žižek
Language English
Published 2000 (Verso)
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 300
ISBN 1-85984-278-X
OCLC 44780799
320/.01 21
LC Class JA71 .B88 2000

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues On The Left is a collaborative book by the political theorists Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žižek published in 2000.

Background, structure and themes

Over the course of the 1990s, Butler, Laclau, and Žižek found themselves engaging with each other's work in their own books. In order to focus more closely on their theoretical differences (and similarities), they decided to produce a book in which all three would contribute three essays each, with the authors' respective second and third essays responding to the points of dispute raised by the earlier essays. In this way, the book is structured in three "cycles" of three essays each, with points of dispute and lines of argumentation developed, passed back and forward, and so on.

At one point in the exchange, Butler refers to the exercise as an unintentional "comedy of formalisms" (137), with each writer accusing the other two of being too abstract and formalist in relation to the declared themes of contingency, hegemony, and universality. At the heart of these themes is a desire to address the question of particularism and political emancipation. For example, while Žižek holds the notion of capitalism as a structure that enables various particular political claims, Butler and Laclau stress that all politics can be conceptualized in terms of a hegemonic struggle, which rejects the notion of any primary structure, such as capitalism or patriarchy.

Points of dispute between Butler and Laclau

Points of dispute between Laclau and Žižek

Points of dispute between Butler and Žižek

Bibliographical information

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