In this highly original and influential work, Ernesto Laclau focuses on the construction of popular identities and how “the people” emerge as a collective actor.
Skilfully combining theoretical analysis with a myriad of empirical references from numerous historical and geographical contexts, he offers a critical reading of the existing literature on populism, demonstrating its dependency on the theorists of “mass psychology,” such as Taine and Freud.
“On Populist Reason” is essential reading for all those interested in the question of political identities in the present day.
Several celebrated scholars and theorists have praised this book.
English philosopher Simon Critchley, has said, “What needs to be politically articulated at the present time is the possibility of a leftist populism.
“This is what makes Laclau’s long-awaited book so important. Arguably, populism has always been the governing concept in Laclau’s work and in On Populist Reason, he lays out his position with great power and analytical clarity.”
British historian Robin Blackburn commented, “‘On Populist Reason’ helped to explain the rise of the new leftist sentiment sweeping Latin America from Venezuela to Ecuador to Argentina, he was a key influence on Kirchner, who valued Laclau’s support in reaching out beyond his Peronista base to the grassroots activists who had been occupying hundreds of factories. Laclau’s sympathy for the Latin American new left was most unwelcome to those who were alarmed by the mobilization of the poor and excluded.”
Laclau is often described as an ‘inventor’ of post-Marxist political theory. He is well known for his collaborations with his long-term partner, Chantal Mouffe.