This paper explores the distinction between representative and presentative conceptions of politics in the works of Alain Badiou and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Analyzing Badiou’s reading of Rousseau’s Social Contract, the paper shows that, contrary to a common view, Rousseau is not a normative theorist of legitimacy; instead, he is a political ontologist, one who thinks the being of politics rather than its norms. In this role, Rousseau defends a politics of presentation, a conception of politics as essentially creative rather than imitative. Against a view of politics as a representation of natural, divine or moral order, Rousseau’s political ontology maintains that politics exists only so long as order is created, out of nothing as it were. In short, politics cannot be representational; it exists only as long as it is present, not represented. For Badiou and Rousseau, representation is not necessarily illegitimate or unjust; it is simply not political.
Keywords Representation  Jean-Jacques Rousseau  Social Contract Theory  Metapolitics  Alain Badiou  Political Ontology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,089
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Creolizing Rousseau.Jane Anna Gordon & Neil Roberts (eds.) - 2014 - Rowman & Littlefield International.
Habermas as a Reader of Rousseau.Ricardo Monteagudo - 2013 - Trans/Form/Ação 36 (s1):195-204.


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #510,380 of 2,498,993 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #421,180 of 2,498,993 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes