Thesis Eleven 164 (1):120-143 (2021)

Not long ago, under the influence of Michel Foucault, one spoke of the conjunction of knowledge and power, but in this post-truth era power appears singularly uninterested in knowledge, even as the supporters of Donald Trump claim that he alone of all politicians speaks the truth. This essay proposes to examine the relations of power and knowledge under the present populist assault. This analysis begins in the work of Claude Lefort, who spoke of the separation of knowledge and power in democracy’s symbolic regime, and is then counterposed to Ernesto Laclau’s understanding of ‘populist reason’ in order to explore the present torsion of this relation to the point where power can appear not just separated from, but opposed to knowledge. It will be argued that it is less a question of post-truth than of different forms of truth with different truth claims, borne by different imperatives, and tied to different forms of representation – truth claims that can, in relation to each other, be indifferent, complementary, or conflictual. With this in mind, the essay asks: what is the relation of the people to truth? Do those who claim to represent the people seek possession of a different kind of truth? What is the relation of populism to ideology? And what is populism’s relation to ‘post-modernism’?
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DOI 10.1177/0725513620983685
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of the Political.Carl Schmitt - 1996 - University of Chicago Press.
On Populist Reason.Ernesto Laclau - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (4):832-835.
Politics and Sovereign Power: Considerations on Foucault.Lorna Weir & Brian C. J. Singer - 2006 - European Journal of Social Theory 9 (4):443-465.

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