Hegemony and Socialist Strategy  

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"It is well known how 'necessity' was understood by the Second International: as a natural necessity, founded on a combination of Marxism and Darwinism." --Hegemony and Socialist Strategy

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hegemony and Socialist Strategy is a 1985 work of political theory in the post-Marxist tradition by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Developing several sharp divergences from the tenets of canonical Marxist thought, the authors begin by tracing historically varied discursive constitutions of class, political identity, and social self-understanding, and then tie these to the contemporary importance of hegemony as a destabilized analytic which avoids the traps of various procedures Mouffe and Laclau feel constitute a foundational flaw in Marxist thought: essentializations of class identity, the use of a priori interpretative paradigms with respect to history and contextualization, the privileging of the base/superstructure binary above other explicative models.


  • Smith, Anna Marie. Laclau and Mouffe: The Radical Democratic Imaginary. — London: Routledge, 1998.
  • Howarth, David. Discourse. — Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 2000.
  • Philips, Louise, Jorgensen, Marianne. Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method. — London: Sage, 2002.
  • Howarth, David, Aletta Norval and Yannis Stavrakakis (eds). Discourse Theory and Political Analysis. — Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002.
  • Critchley, Simon and Oliver Marchart (eds). Laclau: A Critical Reader. — London: Routledge, 2004.
  • Breckman, Warren. Adventures of the Symbolic: Postmarxism and Radical Democracy. — New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.
  • Howarth, David and Jacob Torfing (eds). Discourse Theory in European Politics. — Houndmills: Palgrave, 2005.
  • Torfing, Jacob. New Theories of Discourse: Laclau, Mouffe, Žižek. — Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.

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