History of the Human Sciences 15 (4):97-114 (2002)

This article is concerned with post-Marxism and materialism in the work of Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. As `post-Marxists' these writers use `material' in a variety of ways, all of which indicate limits and constraints. The article focuses on one version of `materialism' in this work, a version that is more implied than elaborated, in which `material' is equivalent to institutionalized performativity or sedimented discourse: to `objective' social structures and institutions. Post-Marxists often use `the social' as equivalent to `material' in this sense, to gesture towards the context in which politics succeeds or fails. I argue that the specificities of `the social' cannot be theorized from within the terms of post-Marxism itself and that Butler and Laclau acknowledge this limitation in their most recent work. I therefore conclude that post-Marxism needs a supplement that I call political sociology. This is a dangerous supplement in the Derridean sense: a necessary addition that destabilizes the value post-Marxism gives to the distinction between `social' and `political' in which the latter is the privileged term
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DOI 10.1177/0952695102015004821
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Of Grammatology.Jacques Derrida - 1998 - Johns Hopkins University Press.

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