Sunday, October 31, 2010

Laclau, "Universalism, Particularism and the Question of Identity"

If democracy is possible, it is because the universal has no necessary body and no necessary content; different groups, instead, compete between themselves to temporarily give to their particularisms a function of universal representation. Society generates a whole vocabulary of empty signifiers whose temporary signifieds are the result of a political competition. It is this final failure off society to constitute itself as society - which is the same thing as the failure of constituting difference as difference - which makes the distance between the universal and the particular unbridgeable and, as a result, burdens concrete social agents with the impossible task of making democratic interaction achievable.