David Howarth is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Government at the University of Essex, and Co-Director of the Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis. His publications include Discourse (Buckingham: Open University Press, 2000); Poststructuralism and After (London: Palgrave, 2013); Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory (co-authored with Jason Glynos) (London: Routledge, 2007); The Politics of Sustainable Aviation (co-authored with Steven Griggs) (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013) and Ernesto Laclau: Post-Marxism, Populism and Critique (Routledge, 2014). He has published numerous articles on political theory, social movements, public policy, and environmental protest in journals including the British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Critical Discourse Studies, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, Journal of Political Ideologies, Journal of Urban Affairs, Mobilization, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Geography, Political Quarterly, and Political Studies.
Ryan Flitcroft is a PhD student in the Department of Government at the University of Essex and is a member of the Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis. At Essex he obtained a Masters degree in Ideology and Discourse Analysis and also holds a BA in Politics and Philosophy from Lancaster University. His PhD thesis uses the political logic of populism to explore and analyse the discourses of UKIP and in turn those discourses surrounding Brexit, particularly focusing on their development, evolution and adoption over time. More broadly, his research interests include post-structuralist and post-Marxist theory, and the relationship between populism, identity, and collective action.
Konstantinos Roussos is a PhD researcher in the department of Government. He holds a Master degree in Political Science from Panteion University and also a BA in Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies from the University of Macedonia. His PhD thesis utilizes Post-Marxist political and social theory and methodologies for the study of social movements and collective action, particularly focusing on forms of everyday politics and the commons in the European South today. More broadly, his research interests and publications explore grassroots forms of collective action, processes of politicization and subjectivation through participatory politics, alternatives to neoliberalism, urban and regional social movements and anti-capitalist politics.
Jimena Vazquez is a PhD researcher in the department of Government and member of the Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis. She holds a Master degree in Political Theory from The University of Chicago and a BA in Political Science from the Technological Autonomous Instituto of Mexico (ITAM). Her PhD research focuses on theories of political subjectivation and critique in Michel Foucault’s thought. Drawing on analysis of the digital her current research focuses on a critique of the digital subjectivity by underscoring neoliberalism as a form of governmentality in the Foucauldian sense. More broadly, her research interests focus on subjectivity in post structuralist discourse theory and its interplay with power and the possibilities for political action.
Course Content A central claim of discourse theory is that meaning, subjectivity, and agency are constructed within relational structures that are shaped and re-shaped through political struggle. This course introduces the basic concepts of poststructuralist discourse theory, understood as a distinctive, qualitative approach to critical empirical research. The course situates this approach in relation to competing approaches to social and political analysis that take discourse and meaning seriously, and contextualises it also in relation to key debates in the philosophy of natural and social science.
The main aim of the course, however, is to address the challenging question of ‘applying’ discourse theory to empirical phenomena in the name of understanding, explanation, and critique. Drawing inspiration from poststructuralism and psychoanalysis, it serves as a forum to discuss research strategies that are consonant with the field of discourse theory, and outlines conceptual frameworks that can be employed in the analysis of concrete discourses and practices.
A range of concepts and themes are examined with particular reference to the work of thinkers such as Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Judith Butler, Antonio Gramsci, Wendy Brown, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Slavoj Žižek. Such concepts and themes are considered from the point of view of methodology and research strategy, and include discourse and practice, hegemony and antagonism, politics and dislocation, performativity and subjectivity, fantasy and ideology, feminism and the commons, populism and radical democracy.
It uses empirical cases to illustrate broad methodological and theoretical points, from general considerations regarding qualitative methods appropriate to poststructuralist discourse theory, to more focused considerations of rhetorical, ethnographic, participatory, and psycho-social dimensions of research, including the place and role of the analyst in the process of research. The illustrations will focus on the emergence and hegemonic consolidation of neoliberal discourses and practices in different contexts; the logic and functioning of policy discourses; the rise and character of populist movements and other forms of radical democratic politics; the role of organizational, media and digital practices in contemporary capitalism; the character of urban regimes and novel forms of commoning; and more besides. As part of this course participants are invited to present and thematise their own research topics and proposals
Discussion of Participant’s Research Projects Participants are encouraged to submit a short 1,500 word outline of their own research interests and projects, and the sorts of challenges being faced, methodological or otherwise. Outlines should be emailed to both David Howarth (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Konstantinos Roussos (email@example.com), and headed “Essex Summer School”, at least one week before the start of the course, so that they can be built into the programme. Time is allocated at the end of the course for collective discussion of participant research topics and proposals.
Course Aims & Objectives Participants will become familiar with the basic assumptions, concepts and logics of poststructuralist discourse theory, exploring their implications for conducting social and political analysis and analyzing policy discourses. At the end of the course, participants will:
• be conversant with major literatures and debates in the field of discourse analysis; • have acquired a solid grounding in poststructuralist discourse theory and its application to social and political analysis and critique; • be well-grounded in theoretical and methodological issues arising in this field; • be familiar with key dimensions of critical empirical research relevant to the design of a research strategy in this field; • be able to conduct independent theoretical and empirical research in the field of discourse analysis, focussed on the location of puzzles, the problematization of relevant literatures, the construction of research questions, and the gathering and analysis of data; • finish with a keen sense of the critical role that discourse plays both in theory and in social and political practice.
Course Prerequisites No specialised background knowledge is presupposed in this course, but it would be helpful if participants have some familiarity with basic social science theory.
Key Texts Although a reading pack will be made available, participants may find it helpful to have access to copies of the following texts, which cover key issues addressed in the course:
Howarth, D. 2000. Discourse. Open University Press.
Glynos, J. and Howarth, D. 2007. Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory. Routledge. (This book will be provided by the summer school as part of the course material.
Griggs, S. and Howarth, D. 2013. The Politics of Airport Expansion in the United Kingdom: Hegemony, Policy and the Rhetoric of ‘Sustainable Aviation’, Manchester University Press.
Howarth, D. 2013. Poststructuralism and After: Structure, Agency and Power.
Stavrakakis, Y. 1999. Lacan and the Political. Routledge.
Laclau, E. 2005. On Populist Reason. Verso.
Representative Background Reading: Jørgensen, M. & Phillips, L. P. 2002. Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method. Sage. Torfing, J. 1999. New Theories of Discourse: Laclau, Mouffe, and Žižek. Blackwell. Glynos, J., Howarth, D., Norval, A., and Speed, E. 2009. ‘Discourse Analysis: Varieties and Methods’, ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, NCRM/014, http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/796/1/discourse_analysis_NCRM_014.pdf
Laclau, E., ‘Discourse’ in Goodin, Robert A., and Philip Pettit, eds., A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993) pp. 431-437. Laclau, E., and Mouffe, C. 1987. ‘Post-Marxism without Apologies’, New Left Review 166: 79-106. Žižek, S. (1989) The Sublime Object of Ideology, London: Verso. Howarth, D., A.J. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis, Discourse Theory and Political Analysis. Laclau, E., & C. Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (London: Verso, 1985, 2001 2nd Edition). Laclau, E. New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time (London: Verso, 1990). Marttila, Tomas (ed.) (2018) Discourse, Culture and Organization. Inquiries into Relational Structures of Power, Palgrave. Stavrakakis, Yannis & Galanopoulos, Antonis (2018) ‘Ernesto Laclau and Communication Studies’, Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Communication, DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.590, Ernesto Laclau and Communication Studies – Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication Stavrakakis, Yannis, The Lacanian Left (Albany: SUNY Press, 2007).
Course Overview This course provides the conceptual and methodological means to use discourse analysis in the conduct of empirical and theoretical research, where the aims of the approach are to understand, characterize, explain, and criticize problematized social phenomena. It serves as a forum to discuss research strategies that are consonant with the field of poststructuralist discourse theory, and outlines an approach that can be employed in the analysis of concrete discourses. More precisely, the course puts forward an approach to critical explanation, which comprises five basic elements: problematization; retroduction; logics; articulation; critique and normative evaluation. Building on Michel Foucault’s method of problematization, Laclau and Mouffe’s post-Marxist logics of discourse analysis and various psychoanalytic ideas drawn from Freud, Lacan and Žižek we seek to investigate the meanings and theoretical role of a wide range of themes and concepts such as: critique, ideology, hegemony, antagonism, radical democracy, populism, prefigurative politics, neoliberalism, subjectivity and the digital.
The course examines the philosophical underpinnings of a poststructuralist approach to social and political analysis and grapples with their operationalization through a range of empirical cases to illustrate broad methodological and theoretical points. This focus also includes general considerations regarding qualitative methods appropriate to poststructuralist discourse theory, as well as more focused considerations of participatory and ethnographic research techniques. More precisely, the course will explore discourses and practices in multiple contexts: the logic and functioning of policy discourses; the rise and character of populist movements and other forms of radical democratic politics; the role of organizational, media and digital practices in contemporary capitalism; the character of urban regimes and novel forms of commoning and feminist politics; and more besides. The illustrations draw on a range of empirical cases, including research on apartheid and popular democratic discourse in South Africa; digital subjectivity; recent aviation and higher education policy in the UK; neoliberal and austerity politics in the UK and Europe; the politics and ideology of workplace practices; and various instances of urban and populist politics. Participants are expected to present and discuss in an engaging form their own research work or proposals, as well as jointly discuss topics and perspectives raised in the seminars.
Course Structure The course comprises 10 sessions over two weeks, where each session is made up of two 1.5hr halves with a 0.5hr break in between. Sessions start at 10am and end at 1.30pm. 10.00-11.30 Session 11.30-12.00 Coffee break 12.00-13.30 Session
The course will draw on a wide range of texts, but will focus in particular on Hegemony and Socialist Strategy; Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory and On Populist Reason. Most asterixed readings apart from these books will be included in our reading pack. Some asterixed readings will be supplied separately during the course, and some are available over the net or in the library. Asterixed readings are considered essential for the sessions. Non-asterixed readings are optional background readings. There will be an opportunity to test ideas introduced in the course through debate and parallel group work streams, as well as through various participatory learning activities. During the course, and especially in the final three sessions, we will have the chance to discuss the research projects and problems of individual participants. Those interested in participating in this exercise should send short presentations (~ 1500 words) of their projects to course leaders David Howarth (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Konstantinos Roussos (email@example.com), preferably before our summer school sessions start, so that we can build them into the programme.
Introducing Poststructuralist Discourse Theory and Logics of Critical Explanation: A Problem-Driven Approach
Our first lecture introduces poststructuralist discourse theory (PDT) in general terms, by charting the “discursive turn” in the contemporary social sciences, by presenting a brief genealogy of the development of PDT, focusing on its ever-widening ontological and methodological scope, by situating PDT in relation to other discourse-oriented approaches, as well as in relation to positivist, hermeneutical and naturalistic approaches to social science research. After outlining the content and rationale of the course as a whole, we set out the core concepts and logics of poststructuralist discourse theory, concentrating on the categories of discourse, dislocation, subjectivity and hegemony, as they have been developed by Laclau and Mouffe in texts like Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time, and On Populist Reason. We also analyze the formation and dissolution of frontiers in political discourse and the role that the logics of equivalence and difference play in these processes. The session will also introduce the main elements of the logics of critical explanation, which will then be elaborated through the course.
Readings Howarth, D. (2018) ‘Marx, Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Negotiating an Ambiguous Legacy’, Critical Discourse Studies, Vol 15, No 4, pp. 377-89. Glynos, J., Howarth, D., Norval, A., and Speed, E. (2009) ‘Discourse Analysis: Varieties and Methods’, ESRC National Centre for Research Methods NCRM/014, http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/796/1/discourse_analysis_NCRM_014.pdf
Laclau, E. and C. Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, Chapter 3. Steven Griggs and David Howarth (2013) The Politics of Airport Expansion in the United Kingdom: Hegemony, Policy and the Rhetoric of ‘Sustainable Aviation’ (2013) Manchester: Manchester University Press, Chapter 1. D. Howarth and Y. Stavrakakis, ‘Introducing Discourse Theory and Political Analysis’, in Howarth, D., A. J. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis (eds), Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Identities, Hegemonies and Social Change (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), Introduction. Howarth, Discourse (Buckingham: Open University Press, 2000), Introduction & Chapters 3-7. Howarth (2002) ‘An Archaeology of Political Discourse? Evaluating Michel Foucault’s Explanation and Critique of Ideology’, Political Studies, 50(1): 117-135. Howarth, ‘Discourse Theory and Political Analysis’ in E. Scarborough and E. Tanenbaum (eds), Research Strategies in the Social Sciences (Oxford: OUP. 1998), Chapter 12. Foucault, ‘Politics and the Study of Discourse’, in G. Burchell, C. Gordon and P. Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, Hemel Hampstead: Harvester, 1984, Ch 2. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, Brighton: Harvester, 1982, Chapters 4, 5 Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, London: Tavistock, 1972. Dews, ‘Althusser, Structuralism and the French Epistemological Tradition’, in G. Elliot (ed), Althusser: A Critical Reader, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1994, Ch 5. Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Cambridge: Polity, 1985, Chapters 9, 10. Howarth, D., A. J. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis (eds), Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Identities, Hegemonies and Social Change (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000). Torfing, New Theories of Discourse (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999).
Foucault and Problematization
The second day turns to the role of problematization in the practice of applying discourse theory in political science, and then moves to a discussion of appropriate research strategies. We begin by discussing Michel Foucault’s efforts to develop a method of discourse analysis that goes beyond traditional hermeneutics, without relapsing into naturalism, positivism, or a methodological anarchism adopted by some proponents of post-modernism and post-structuralism. We will take Foucault’s archeological method as a starting point (employed in his early writings: The Birth of the Clinic, The Order of Things) and move into his genealogical method, the one which characterizes his analysis on power. We will grapple with how both methods, even if they move from asking “what” into “how”, are in deep conversation with each other, and build Foucault’s understanding of problematization.
The second part of the class will be the application of these methods, and so participants will be given the opportunity to problematize a set of themes and issues related to their own research, constructing a short research problem. We finish the class by discussing the various problems that arise in terms of formulating and implementing relevant research strategies in poststructuralist discourse theory. Here we discuss the role of the case study method and case selection, before turning to concrete empirical illustrations of the PDT approach.
M. Foucault, ‘Orders of Discourse’, Social Science Information, 10, 1971, pp. 7-30. M. Foucault, ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’, in M. Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory and Practice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977). (Also published in P. Rabinow, The Foucault Reader, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984). M. Foucault (2003) Society Must be Defended, Chapter 1. Lecture of the 7th of January 1976. J. Glynos and D. Howarth, Logics of Critical Explanation (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), Chapter 6. Steven Griggs and David Howarth (2013) The Politics of Airport Expansion in the United Kingdom: Hegemony, Policy and the Rhetoric of ‘Sustainable Aviation’ (2013) Manchester: Manchester University Press, Chapter 2. D. Howarth, ‘Applying Discourse Theory: The Method of Articulation’, in Discourse Theory and European Politics: Identities, Policy and Governance (London: Palgrave, 2005). Flyvberg, B. (2001) Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again, Cambridge: CUP, Chapters 6, 7 & 9. Schram, S. F., and Caterino, B. (eds) (2006) Making Political Science Matter, New York: NYUP, Introduction, Chapters 2, 3, 5. Griggs, S. and D. Howarth (2011) “Phronesis, Logics, and Critical Policy Analysis: Heathrow’s ‘Third Runway’ and the Politics of Sustainable Aviation in the UK”, in T. Landman and S. Schram (eds) Real Social Science, Cambridge: CUP. (Forthcoming. Copy will be made available). Dowding, ‘There must be an end to confusion’, Political Studies (2001) 49, pp. 89-105. Shapiro, R. M. Smith, and T. E. Masoud (eds) (2004) Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics (Cambridge: CUP, 2004). Laclau, Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory (London: Verso), Introduction, Chapter 4.
The third day deconstructs the dominant logics of explanation in political science, namely the causal law paradigm or its surrogates, before offering an alternative post-positivist approach to social and political analysis. These lectures begin by briefly and critically interrogating two opposed responses to the causal law model: the ‘interpretive turn’ (e.g. Charles Taylor; Mark Bevir and Rod Rhodes) and the recourse to ‘causal mechanisms’ (e.g. Roy Bhaskar; Jon Elster). We then show how the various elements of poststructuralist discourse theory can be brought together to develop a particular form of explanation and reasoning. Here we discuss the category of retroduction (as developed by philosophers of science Charles Sanders Peirce and Norbert Hanson), and contrast this form of reasoning with induction and deduction. Retroduction is then connected – via what we call the ‘retroductive circle’ – to concerns in the philosophy of social science and to issues in social and political theory. Finally, moving towards empirical applications we explore the potential of such contributions in understanding and conducting qualitative research practices, particularly emphasizing ethnographic and participatory research methodologies.
J. Glynos and D. Howarth, Logics of Critical Explanation (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), Chapters 2-5. J. Glynos, and Howarth, D. (2008) ‘Critical Explanation in Social Science: A Logics Approach’, Swiss Journal of Sociology, 34(1): 5-35. J. Glynos, and Howarth, D. (2008) ‘Structure, Agency and Power in Political Analysis: Beyond Contextualized Self-Interpretations’, Political Studies Review, 6: 155-169. Cameron, J. and Gibson, K. (2005) ‘Participatory Action Research in a Poststructuralist Vein’, Geoforum, 36: 315-331. Casas Cortes, M., Osterweil, M., Powel, D. (2013) ‘Transformations in Engaged Ethnography: Knowledge, Networks, and Social Movements’, in Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography, and the Political, Durham NC & London: Duke University Press. Chatterton, P. (2006) ‘“Give up activism” and change the world in unknown ways: Or, learning to walk with others on uncommon ground’, Antipode. Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Inc., 38(2), pp. 259–281. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8330.2006.00579.x. Karakatsanis, L. (2012) ‘Interdisciplinarity and ‘Field Research’ Methods in Discourse Studies: Political Discourse Theory, Cultural Critique and the ‘Gift’ of an Ethnographic Ethos’, Working Paper in Ideology and Discourse Analysis, 27: 1-29. J. Elster, ‘A Plea for Mechanisms’, in his Alchemies of the Mind: Rationality and the Emotions (Cambridge: CUP, 1999). Lennon, K. and Whitford, M. (1994) Knowing the Difference: Feminist Perspectives in Epistemology. Edited by K. Lennon and M. Whitford. London: Routledge. Balsinger, P. and Lembelet, A. (2014) ‘Participant Observation’, in della Porta, D. (ed.) Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research, pp. 144–185. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719571.001.0001 Blee, K. (2013) ‘How options disappear: Causality and emergence in grassroots activist groups’, American Journal of Sociology. The University of Chicago Press, 119(3), pp. 655–681. doi: 10.1086/675347.
Butler, E. Laclau and S. Zizek, Contingency, Hegemony and Universality (London: Verso, 2005), ‘Identity and Hegemony’; ‘Structure, History and the Political’; ‘Constructing Universality’.
Sayer, Marx’s Method: Ideology, Science and Critique (Brighton: Harvester, 1981).
Charles Sanders Peirce, Collected Papers, Vol 2 (Elements of Logic), (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1960), pp. 372-388. Charles Sanders Peirce, The Philosophy of Peirce, ed. Buchler, London: Kegan Paul, 1940), pp. 150-56. R. Hanson, Patterns of Discovery (Cambridge: CUP, 1961), Introduction, Chapters 3, 4. R. Hanson, Observation and Explanation (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1972). Laclau, E. and C. Mouffe ‘Post-Marxism without Apologies’, New Left Review, 166 (November/December 1987). (Reprinted in Laclau, E. New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time (London: Verso, 1990), Chapter 4.) Taylor, ‘Self-interpreting Animals’, in C. Taylor, Human Agency and Language: Philosophical Papers 1 (Cambridge: CUP, 1985), Chapter 2. Taylor, ‘Interpretation and the Sciences of Man,’ Review of Metaphysics, Volume 25, no 1 (Sept 1971), 3-51. (Reprinted in C. Taylor, Philosophy and the Human Sciences 2, Chapter 1.) Glynos (2008) ‘Self-Transgressive Enjoyment as a Freedom Fetter’, Political Studies, 56(3): 679-704. Jaggar, A. M. (1989) ‘Love and knowledge: Emotion in feminist epistemology’, Inquiry (United Kingdom), 32(2), pp. 151–176. doi: 10.1080/00201748908602185. Bevir and R. Rhodes, “Interpretation and its Others”, Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 169-187. Riker, William H. (1982) ‘The Two-Party System and Duverger’s Law: An Essay on the History of Political Science’ in Farr, James and Raymond Seidelman (eds.), Discipline and History: Political Science in the United States (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993). Howarth, Discourse (Buckingham: Open University Press, 2000), Introduction & Chapters 3-7. Howarth (2002) ‘An Archaeology of Political Discourse? Evaluating Michel Foucault’s Explanation and Critique of Ideology’, Political Studies, 50(1): 117-135. Howarth, ‘Discourse Theory and Political Analysis’ in E. Scarborough and E. Tanenbaum (eds), Research Strategies in the Social Sciences (Oxford: OUP. 1998), Chapter 12. Foucault, ‘Politics and the Study of Discourse’, in G. Burchell, C. Gordon and P. Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, Hemel Hampstead: Harvester, 1984, Ch 2. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, Brighton: Harvester, 1982, Chapters 4, 5M. Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, London: Tavistock, 1972. Dews, ‘Althusser, Structuralism and the French Epistemological Tradition’, in G. Elliot (ed), Althusser: A Critical Reader, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1994, Ch 5. Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Cambridge: Polity, 1985, Chapters 9, 10. Howarth, D., A. J. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis (eds), Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Identities, Hegemonies and Social Change (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000). Stanley, L. and Wise, S. (1993) Breaking Out Again: Feminist Ontology and Epistemology. 2nd edn, Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie. 2nd edn. London: Rutledge. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2016.04.006.
Logics, Neoliberalism and Radical Politics
On the fourth day, we then elaborate an alternative social ontology, which is premised on the central role of radical contingency, and then introduce three types of logic – social, political, and fantasmatic – as the basis of the approach. The aim is to show how they enable the process of characterizing, explaining and criticizing problematized social phenomena. Examples will include the crisis of social democracy; the politics of “Thatcherism” and “New Labour”; the growth of neo-liberalism in various contexts; and the emergence of emancipatory social movements, grassroots and commoning alternatives. By focusing on regimes of practices we seek to uncover the mechanisms and logics through which different forms of politics organize human life while at the same time (re-)produce certain patterns of living. Crucially here we adopt a research strategy that emphasize the relationship between power, social structures and human agency so as to explore the logics that sustain ideas, practices, infrastructures and institutions that are being developed within and through hegemonic discourses and counter-hegemonic alternatives.
J. Glynos and D. Howarth, Logics of Critical Explanation (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), Chapters 4-5. J. Glynos, and Howarth, D. (2008) ‘Critical Explanation in Social Science: A Logics Approach’, Swiss Journal of Sociology, 34(1): 5-35. J. Glynos, and Howarth, D. (2008) ‘Structure, Agency and Power in Political Analysis: Beyond Contextualized Self-Interpretations’, Political Studies Review, 6: 155-169. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2018.1457550. Roussos, Konstantinos (2019) ‘Grassroots Collective Action Within and Beyond Institutional and State Solutions: The (Re-)politicization of Everyday Life in Crisis-Ridden Greece’, Social Movement Studies 18 (3): 265-283. https://doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2018.1562330. Prentoulis, Marina, and Lasse Thomassen (2013) “Political theory in the square: Protest, representation and subjectification.” Contemporary Political Theory 12 (3): 166-184. https://doi.org/10.1057/cpt.2012.26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/cpt.2012.26. Dardot, P., & Laval, C. (2014). The new way of the world: On neoliberal society. Verso Trade. Foucault, Michel. 1991. “Questions of Method.” In The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, edited by Colin Gordon, Peter Miller and Graham Burchell, x, 307 p. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Foucault, M., Senellart, M., & Collège de France. (2008) The birth of biopolitics : lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-79. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke. Stuart Hall (2011) ‘The neo-liberal revolution’, Cultural Studies, 25:6, pp. 705-728, DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2011.619886 Howarth, D. (2018) ‘Marx, discourse theory and political analysis: negotiating an ambiguous legacy.’ Critical Discourse Studies, 15 (4): 377-389. Kioupkiolis, Alexandros. 2017a. “Common Democracy. Political Representation beyond Representative Democracy.” Democratic Theory 4 (1): 35-58. https://doi.org/10.3167/dt.2017.040103. https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/democratic-theory/4/1/dt040103.xml. Hall, Stuart, Doreen Massey, and Michael Rustin (2015) “After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto”, Lawrence & Wishart. K Roussos, V Vragoteris, H Malamidis (2018) People’s Infrastructures: the case of recuperated factory of VIOME, available at: http://new-pretender.com/2018/10/08/peoples-infrastructures-the-case-of-viome/ Federici, Silvia. 2004. Caliban and the witch. 1st ed. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia. Linebaugh, Peter (2008) The Magna Carta Manifesto: liberties and commons for all, Berkeley: University of California Press. Sitrin, Marina, and Dario Azzellini. 2014. They Can’t Represent us! Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy, London: Verso Books. Jamie Peck (2013) “Explaining (with) Neoliberalism”, Territory, Politics, Governance, 1:2, 132-157, DOI: 10.1080/21622671.2013.785365
Logics of Populism and Nationalism
Populism has preoccupied political studies throughout the twentieth century. Echoing more traditional populist mobilizations (the People’s Party in the 1890s in the US, Russian Narodnichestvo and traditional Latin American populisms in the 1940s and 1950s), the last twenty years have been marked by a resurgence of populist phenomena, especially in Europe (extreme right-wing populism in France, Austria, the Netherlands and elsewhere), Latin America (Chavismo in Venezuela, Kirchnerismo in Argentina, etc.) and, more recently, the US (Tea Party, Occupy) and the UK (UKIP and the Brexit referendum). We shall also explore reactions to these phenomena by both left-wing populist and liberal institutional entities. How can political research respond to the challenge posed by such developments that often monopolize the daily agenda of the media and touch on the very quality of democracy?
On Day 5, we focus on the contribution of poststructuralist discourse theory to the theorization of populism. The experience of Argentinian Peronism triggered Laclau’s theoretical trajectory and his embrace of hegemony theory in the 1970s and it is to populism he will return in his 2005 Magnum Opus, On Populist Reason. We follow this conceptual trajectory highlighting the way it has influenced the new mainstream in populism studies (Canovan, Mudde & Kaltwasser, etc.), whilst also looking at recent developments from within the field stemming from a reconsideration and extension of Laclau’s work. We also consider the challenges permeating populism studies presently, including the potential overstretching of the concept, its nuanced relationship with nationalism, as well as concerns over the occurrence of a populist ‘hype’ that threatens to undermine its usage as a descriptive and analytical category.
Stavrakakis, Yannis (2004) ‘Antinomies of Formalism: Laclau’s Theory of Populism and the Lessons from Religious Populism in Greece’, Journal of Political Ideologies, 9(3), pp. 253-267. Stavrakakis, Yannis (2014) ‘The Return of “the People”: Populism and Anti-Populism in the Shadow of the European Crisis’, Constellations, 21(4), pp. 505-517. De Cleen, Benjamin (2019) ‘The Populist Political Logic and the Analysis of the Discursive Construction of ‘The People’ and ‘The Elite’’, in J. Zienkowski and R. Breeze, Imagining the Peoples of Europe: Populist discourses across the political spectrum, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp19-42. Glynos J and Mondon A (2016) The political logic of populist hype: The Case of Rightwing Populism’s ‘Meteoric Rise’ and its Relation to the Status Quo’. Populismus Working Paper Series nr. 4. Downloaded from: http://www.populismus.gr/wpcontent/uploads/2016/12/WP4-glynos-mondon-final-upload.pdf
De Cleen, Benjamin, Glynos, Jason and Mondon, Aurelien (2018) ‘Critical research on populism: Nine rules of engagement’, Organization, 25(5), pp. 649–661. Canovan, Margaret (1981) Populism, London: Junction Books. Canovan, Margaret (1982) ‘Two Strategies for the Study of Populism’, Political Studies, 30(4), pp. 544-552. Howarth, David and Stavrakakis, Yannis (2000) ‘Introducing Discourse Theory and Political Analysis’, in D. Howarth, A. J. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis, Discourse Theory and Political Analysis (Manchester: Manchester University Press. Several chapters in this book deploy Laclau’s conceptualization of political frontiers in the analysis of concrete cases. Laclau, Ernesto (1980) ‘Populist Rupture and Discourse’, Screen Education, 34, pp. 87-93. Laclau, Ernesto (2005) On Populist Reason, London: Verso. Mudde, C. (2007) Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Norval, Aletta (2012) ‘”Writing a name in the sky”: Rancière, Cavell and the possibility of egalitarian inscription’, American Political Science Review, pp. 1-17. Panizza, F. (2005) Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, London: Verso. POPULISMUS (2014) ‘Methodological Orientation’, http://www.populismus.gr/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/workshop-report-final-upload.pdf
Rancière, Jacques (1999) Disagreement, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, especially chapters 1-3. Rancière, Jacques (2007) The Hatred of Democracy, London: Verso. Taggart, P. (2000) Populism, Buckingham: Open University Press. Stavrakakis, Yannis (2014) ‘The European Populist Challenge’, Annals of the Croatian Political Science Association, 10(1), pp. 25-39.
Relevant material is also accessible through the POPULISMUS Observatory:
Having outlined the form and content of a distinctively discourse-theoretical account of explanation, we turn to the question of linking together different elements (logics, concepts, specific empirical circumstances) into concrete accounts of singular phenomena. This involves the method of articulation, which is developed through a critique of Marx’s method and an elaboration of Laclau’s concept of articulation. This theoretical excursion will allow us to revisit and reflect more closely on how to approach previous questions and cases that warrant investigation, for example in approaching potential cases of populism as well as in the application of the logics.
E. Laclau, Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory (London: Verso), Introduction, Chapter 4. E. Laclau and C. Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (London: Verso, 1985), Chapter 3. K. Marx, Grundrisse (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973), Introduction. Glynos and Howarth, “Logics” and “Critique” in Theory, Method and Critique in Social Science: Logics of Critical Explanation (Routledge, forthcoming). Chapters will be made available. M. Foucault, ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’, in M. Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory and Practice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977). (Also published in P. Rabinow, The Foucault Reader, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984). S. Benhabib, Critique, Norm and Utopia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), Preface, Introduction. R. Bernstein, The New Constellation (Cambridge: Polity, 1991), Chapters 1, 5, 10. D. Howarth (2005) Applying Discourse Theory: the Method of Articulation. In: Howarth D., Torfing J. (eds) Discourse Theory in European Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, London Weber, The Methodology of the Social Sciences (New York, Free Press, 1949). Bhaskar, Reclaiming Reality (London: Verso, 1989).
Critique and Normative Evaluation
We then turn to the question of critique – predicated on the primacy of politics and a specific idea of ethics – which is an essential element in the approach developed, and the allied notion of normative evaluation. We discuss critique on an normative and ideological front. The former allows us to analyse the grounds of public contestation of domination, whereas the latter grants us the tools to explain why such domination grips us in the first place. Such ideas will be contrasted with rival forms of critique and normative evaluation, whether of a transcendental or immanent character. We then take critique and situate it in contemporary discussions of democracy and democratic demands in the context of Laclau and Mouffe’s early work on radical democracy, moving on to consider recent work on agonistic democracy.
To grapple upon such ideas on a more practical manner these sessions are built around a discussion of a range of issues in contemporary debates on radical democracy. We look at conceptual issues, as well as questions of representation and the formation of democratic subjectivities. We start by analysing the emergence of subjectivity in the digital age, and discuss the grounds upon which a critique may or may not be offered. And we then move into how such critique leads us into the discussion of the formation of democratic and critical subjectivities, and their role in collectivities.
David Howarth, ‘Ethos, agonism and populism: William Connolly and the case for radical democracy’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations 10 (2), 2008, pp. 171-193. T. Bucher, ‘Bad Guys and Bag Ladies: On the Poltics of Polemics and the Promise of Ambivalence’, Social Media and Society 1(4), 2019, pp.0-4. J. Dean, “Critique or Collectivity? Communicative Capitalism and the Subject of Politics’, in Chandler, D. and Fuchs, C. (eds), Digital Objects, Digital Subjects: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Capitalism, Labour and Politics in the Age of Big Data (London: University of Westminster Press, 2019), pp.171-182. M. Foucault, “What is Enlightenment” in Lontringer, S. (ed), The Politics of Truth (MIT Press, 2007), pp. 97-119. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (London: Verso, 1985) chapter 4. Ernesto Laclau, ‘The future of radical democracy’, in L. Tonder and L. Thomassen (eds.), Radical Democracy. Politics Between Abundance and Lack (Manchester University Press, 2005), pp.256-262. Mouffe, Chantal, The Democratic Paradox (London: Verso, 2000), Chapter 4 (‘For an Agonistic Model of Democracy’) and Conclusion (‘The Ethics of Democracy’). Aletta J. Norval, Aversive Democracy, chapters 4 and 5.
“Writing a name in the sky”: Rancière, Cavell and the possibility of egalitarian inscription’, American Political Science Review (November 2012), pp. 1-17.
Stephen K. White, ‘After critique: Affirming subjectivity in contemporary political theory’, European Journal of Political Theory 2 (2), 2003, pp. 209-226. Ernesto Laclau, On Populist Reason (London: Verso, 2005), especially chapters 4 and 5. Ernesto Laclau, ‘Deconstruction, Pragmatism, Hegemony’, pp. 47-68, in S. Critchley et al, edited by Chantal Mouffe, Deconstruction and Pragmatism (Routledge, 1997). Dario Castiglione and Mark E. Warren, ‘Rethinking Democratic Representation: Eight Theorerical Issues’, mimeo. Michael Saward, ‘The representative claim’, Contemporary Political Theory, 5 (3), 2006. Richard Bellamy, Liberalism and Modern Society (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992). Richard Bellamy, Liberalism and Pluralism (Routledge, 1999). Jason Glynos, ‘Radical democratic ethos, or, what is an authentic political act?’ (2003) 2(2) Contemporary Political Theory pp.187-208. Keenan, Democracy in Question. Democratic Openness in a Time of Political Closure (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), chapter 3. Ernesto Laclau, ‘Democracy and the Question of Power’ Constellations (2001) 8:1. Claude Lefort, Democracy and Political Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), pp. 9-20. Adrian Little, ‘Community and radical democracy’, Journal of Political Ideologies, (2002) vol. 7(3), pp.369-82. Adrian Little, ‘Between disagreement and consensus: Unravelling the democratic paradox’, Australian Journal of Political Science, 42 (1), 2007, pp. 143-159. C.B. Macpherson, The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977) Chantal Mouffe, ‘Decision, Deliberation, and Democratic Ethos’ (1997) 41(1) Philosophy Today 24. Chantal Mouffe, On the Political (Milton Park: Routledge, 2005). Aletta J. Norval, ‘Radical democracy’, in Paul Barry Clarke and Joe Foweraker (eds) Encyclopedia of Democratic Thought, (Routledge, 2001), pp. 563-70. Aletta J. Norval, ‘Democracy, Pluralization and Voice’, Ethics and Global Politics, Vol. 2 (4) (December 2009). Andrew Schaap, ‘Political Theory and Agony of Politics’, Political Studies Review, 5, 1, 2007, pp. 56-74. Andrew Schaap, ‘Agonism in divided societies’, Philosophy and Social Criticism, 32, 2, 2006, pp. 255-277. J.M. Schwartz, The Permanence of the Political. A Democratic Critique of the Radical Impulse to Transcend Politics, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).
Research Strategies: Presentations, Exemplars, Reflections & Future Trajectories (Days 8-10)
The last sessions tie together the different elements of the course by engaging with the research questions and problems of the participants. We discuss these themes in the context of more general methodological and theoretical issues in the study of social and political practices. A good portion of the final three sessions, however, will be devoted to the discussion of the research projects of participants. It is an opportunity to reflect on the course as a whole and to link course material and illustrations to participants’ own research. Participants will be given the opportunity to present and comment on their own work, as well as comment on other participants’ work. The participants should prepare written papers, which will be pre-circulated to instructors and other participants. Interested participants should send such written presentations of their projects (1500 words max) two weeks before our summer school sessions start, so that we can build them into the programme. All the participants will be assigned with discussants (among the module students) and will have the opportunity to receive feedback from instructors and other participants.
Participant Presentations (to be distributed)
Theoretical and Practical Background
J. Glynos and D. Howarth, Logics of Critical Explanation (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), Chapters Introduction, 1, 6 and Conclusion. Charles Sanders Peirce, Collected Papers, Vol 1 (Principles of Philosophy, (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1960), pp. 28-31.
Tully, ‘Political philosophy as a critical activity’, Political Theory, Vol.30, no.4, 2002.
Connolly, ‘Between Science and Faith’ in his Capitalism and Christianity, American Style (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008). An earlier version appears as ‘Method, Problem, Faith’ in I. Shapiro, R. M. Smith, and T. E. Masoud (eds) (2004) Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics (Cambridge: CUP, 2004).
Shapiro, ‘Problems, Methods, and Theories in the Study of Politics, or: What’s Wrong with Political Science and What to do About it’, in I. Shapiro, R. M. Smith, and T. E. Masoud (eds) (2004) Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics (Cambridge: CUP, 2004).
Selected Empirical Applications
Steven Griggs and David Howarth (2013) The Politics of Airport Expansion in the United Kingdom: Hegemony, Policy and the Rhetoric of ‘Sustainable Aviation’, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Griggs and Howarth (2019) ‘Discourse, Policy, and the Environment: Hegemony, Statements and the Analysis of UK Airport Expansion’, (Co-written with Steven Griggs), Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, (2019) 21 (5), 464-478. DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2016.1266930
Barnett, Griggs and Howarth (2019) ‘Whatever Happened to Councillors? Problematising the Deficiency Narrative in English Local Politics, Political Studies, 67 (3), pp. 775-794. Tafon, Howarth and Griggs (2019) ‘The Politics of Estonia’s Offshore Wind Energy Programme: Discourse, Power and Marine Spatial Planning’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 37(1), 157–176. Steven Griggs, David Howarth & Andrés Feandeiro (2018) The Logics and limits of “collaborative governance” in Nantes: Myth, ideology, and the politics of new urban regimes, Journal of Urban Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2018.1516508
Steven Griggs, Stephen Hall, David Howarth and Natacha Seigenuret (2017) ‘Prospects for the “Sustainable City”: Characterizing and Evaluating Rival Discourses of Radical Change in Bristol and Grenoble’, Political Geography, (2017), 59, 36-46. David Howarth (1997) ‘Complexities of Identity/Difference: The Ideology of Black Consciousness in South Africa’, Journal of Political Ideologies, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 51-78. J. Norval, Deconstructing Apartheid Discourse, chapter 6. J. Norval, ‘Social ambiguity and the crisis of apartheid’ in Laclau, E. (ed.) The Making of Political Identities, Chapter 5. Laclau, E. (ed.) The Making of Political Identities, London: Verso. F. Griggs and D. Howarth, ‘A Transformative Political Campaign? The New Rhetoric of Protest Against Airport Expansion in the UK’, Journal of Political Ideologies, (2004), Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 167-87. F. Griggs and D. Howarth, ‘An Alliance of Interest and Identity? Explaining the Campaign against Manchester Airport’s Second Runway’, Mobilization, (2002) Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 43-58. F. Griggs and D. Howarth, (2008) “Populism, Nimbyism and Environmental Politics: The Logic And Rhetoric Of The Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign”, Planning Theory. Howarth, ‘Populism or Popular Democracy? The UDF, Workerism and the Struggle for Radical Democracy in South Africa’, in F. Panizza (ed) Populism and the Mirror of Nature, London: Verso, 2005. Howarth, ‘The Difficult Emergence of a Democratic Imaginary: Black Consciousness and Non-Racial Democracy in South Africa’, in D. Howarth, A. J. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis (eds) Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Identities, Hegemonies and Social Change, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000. Howarth, D., A. J. Norval and Y. Stavrakakis (eds), Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Identities, Hegemonies and Social Change (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000).