Contemporary Political Theory 5 (4):371-404 (2006)

Abstract
In his theory of the event, Alain Badiou argues that the realm of politics is particularly important. Drawing to an extent on Marx, Lenin and Mao, he argues that true politics is revolutionary, or at least 'eventmental'. Badiou's political thought places great emphasis on the role of the agent of change — the subject — but he argues controversially that subjecthood in politics as well as in other domains comes only after the event has taken place, leaving the potential subject in a highly passive position before the event has taken place. He has relinquished some but not all of Marx's materialist and historical approach, in favour of a more idealist approach influenced in part by Plato, with the effect that his theory of politics is rather disjointed. Badiou's uneasy blend of idealism and materialism means that he has at times highly unorthodox things to say about the notion of democracy and has uneven positions regarding both parliamentary politics and political activism. A lonely, committed voice in contemporary France, Badiou's theory of politics nevertheless offers a rare opportunity to engage with a thinker who is attempting to offer a new philosophy of praxis
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DOI 10.1057/palgrave.cpt.9300275
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