Thursday, July 07, 2011

The double value of the political in Ernesto Laclau - comments

These are my notes on the article "The double value of the political in Ernesto Laclau" (originally "La Doble Valencia de lo Político en Ernesto Laclau") by Esteban Vergalito in Estante Óptica, año 0 número 1. The article was a text presented at the online course on Theology and the Public Question by GEMRIP.

It seems that the author captures well the paradox between the struggle between the social and the political.
"Tal paradójica condición ontológica conlleva, a nivel fáctico, una redefinición constante de los límites entre lo sedimentado y la fuerza reactivante, en un juego inacabable en el que ninguno de los dos polos puede jamás absorber por completo al otro."
However, I think the text does not try to "go up the chain" and does not try to look at any inherent paradox in the political itself, which may provide a more clear understanding of what leads to the paradox between the political/social. For it seems that the political is at the same time proposing new social orders (disrupting social order) and implementing the new social order (seeking consensus). As Zizek wrote, power is, by definition, in excess. Otherwise it's not power.
  I'm not an expert in the field, but I think it would be interesting to explore the psychological aspects of these continuity/discontinuity of social order. It seems to me that this border between the social and the political is blurry. I suspect that in postmodernity the various aspects of our daily lives are a mix of continuity/discontinuity, even when speaking about the political.
  And on a similar note to that, (I think this is not in the scope of the text), but what is the scope of the political in question? To make the discussion more interesting I would apply to 'macro-politics'. In 'macro-politics' this tension between suspension / hegemony is more evident because implicit here is the question of representation or the extent of the political power. What is this confidence in political leaders even in a "representational democracy"? And to help with this question I think that the issue of violence has to come to the forefront. That is, the political act of "elimination of the alternatives" via power struggle may imply violence. Not only against high-level political opponents, but to whole segments of the population that in theory provide legitimacy to the politicians. (For Theology, violence is an interesting topic)
  Finally, it would be nice to explore (no, it's not in the scope of the text) the dialectic struggles outlined by Hegel and Marx (and I suspect - I don't have my philosophy books here with me - some French postmodernists too... ). Yes, we know there are continuity/discontinuity in the political history. But "what do we make of it?" seems to be a more interesting question other than the fact that they exist.

PS: Is it really necessary to write in a language so difficult to understand?

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