History Theory

Power and Politics in Poststructuralist Thought: New by Saul Newman

By Saul Newman

This ebook explores the impression of poststructuralism on modern political idea through focussing on difficulties and matters relevant to politics at the present time. Drawing at the theoretical issues dropped at gentle by way of the ‘poststructuralist’ thinkers Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze and Max Stirner, Newman presents a severe exam of latest advancements in modern political thought: post-Marxism, discourse research, new theories of ideology and tool, hegemony, radical democracy and psychoanalytic thought. He re-examines the political in gentle of those advancements in conception to indicate new methods of puzzling over politics via a mirrored image at the demanding situations that confront it. This quantity could be of serious curiosity to scholars of postmodernism and poststructuralist conception in political technology, philosophy, sociology, philosophy and cultural reports.

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In doing so, they would be abolishing one of the few remaining places of individual autonomy. Social equality and commonality are thus a more effective means of limiting individual autonomy. Therefore, society itself becomes the new locus of sovereignty and domination, rather than the liberal state. Once again the individual is alienated by an abstract generality, according to Stirner. Like the liberal state, the idea of society is seen as sacred and universal, demanding of the individual the same self-sacrifice and unquestioned obedience.

As Stirner shows, the figure of man central to humanism and liberalism is always haunted by an other – the ‘un-man’ or Unmensch. The un-man is that part of the individual that is leftover from the dialectical process, and which cannot be incorporated into the general identity of humanity: ‘Liberalism as a whole has a deadly enemy, an invincible opposite . . by the side of man stands the un-man, the individual, the egoist’ (Stirner 1995: 125). Therefore, there is a point at which the universalizing dialectic of liberalism fails to fully incorporate difference – and difference remains, even if only in the spectral form of the un-man, as a radical excess which escapes its logic.

Perhaps it could be argued, then, that Stirner’s most radical gesture is to actually take the message of liberalism – the valorization of individual autonomy and freedom – seriously, pushing it to its furthest limits and thereby revealing the gap between this message and the reality of liberal politics. Towards a politics of ‘post-liberalism’ Stirner’s critique, despite its eccentricity, clearly poses problems for liberal political theory. By unmasking the disciplinary underside of liberalism – the oppressive normalizing practices that go into constituting the neutral liberal subject – Stirner has exposed the paradoxical nature of liberal notions of freedom, individual rights and autonomy.

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