2021-03Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1177/0191453720910450
Is there another people? Populism, radical democracy and immanent critique
This article explores the possibility of a notion of left-wing populism that is conceptually opposedto the identitarian logic of embodiment that characterises right-populist interpellations of ‘thepeople’. In the first part, I will demonstrate, that in Laclau’s constructivist approach, any populistembodiment of the people actually has a partial, subaltern and performative origin. On this basis, itbecomes possible to distinguish between a radical-democratic version of the people that is self-reflexively aware of this origin and a regressive and reified one that ideologically betrays andnegates its own subaltern tradition of democratic struggle by proclaiming to embody a positive,pre-established substance of ‘rooted’, ‘well-born’ community. In the second part of the article,I will focus on this self-negation as a starting point for an immanent critique of right-wing populism.Such an immanent critique is promising, because it could overcome the shortcomings of deci-sionism and moralism that limit the contemporary critique of right-wing populism. However, itremains still an open question how to defend and define a negativist truth of political communityand subjectivation that is necessary for developing such a left-Hegelian critique of regressive andreified notions of ‘the people’.
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