Logics, Critical Explanation and the Future of Critical Political Theory: Applying Discourse Analysis in Multiple Contexts
The publication of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy in 1985 stimulated the emergence of a new post-Marxist approach to social and political analysis. It also presented a radical challenge to both the mainstream methods of social science and our styles of critical and political engagement. In synthesizing key aspects of continental philosophy, Marxist political economy, political theory, structural linguistics and psychoanalysis, Laclau & Mouffe’s text captured the mood of the times. But this ‘originary text’ of the Essex School of Discourse Theory also embodies a dramatic provocation for scholars, citizens and political projects alike. Indeed, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy produces just as many challenges and invitations as it does clear solutions. At the same time, much has changed since the 1980s: the fall of communism, the rise of neoliberal globalization and its various discontents, not to mention the ‘populist moment’ and the threat of catastrophic climate change. Yet the relevance of this intervention and its productive reception is still pressing today.
This conference marks the 12th anniversary of the publication of another key text associated with the Essex School of Discourse Theory: Jason Glynos and David Howarth’s Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory. The ‘logics approach’ addresses important issues of method and critique by operationalizing key insights of Laclau and Mouffe’s work - and poststructuralism more generally - for the conduct of critical empirical research. This text has also served to inspire and provoke a new generation of scholars across the globe in a wide range of disciplines. It has disclosed new research puzzles and questions, while also inviting further inquiry into its founding assumptions and empirical applications. Organized by the IDA PhD Collective at the Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis, University of Essex, this conference will serve as a forum to explore the present and future trajectories of critical empirical analysis and political discourse theory. We invite PhD students, as well as early career and established researchers, to share their findings and experiences of working with the logics approach and poststructuralist discourse analysis more generally. We welcome paper and panel proposals that address issues of theory, method, and critique, whether in the context of case studies or not. (See below for possible fields and themes.)
Keynote Speakers: Chantal Mouffe, Jodi Dean, Jason Glynos, David Howarth, Karen West, Hugh Willmott, Jenny Gunnarsson Payne