The politics of antagonism

Mark Devenney, David Howarth, Aletta J. Norval, Yannis Stavrakakis, Oliver Marchart, Paula Biglieri, Gloria Perelló

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In perhaps the last piece completed before his sudden death in April 2014 ErnestoLaclau returned to the concept of antagonism (Laclau, 2015, pp. 101–125). Itsconceptual origins lie in his immanent critique of, and break with, Marxism in the1970s. Laclau concluded that antagonism points to the limits of social objectivity andlinked this to an original political ontology (see Hansen, 2016 and Marchart, 2016).The development of this concept is, in effect, the story of Laclau’s theoreticaljourney. In tracking this conceptual history I demonstrate its continued pertinence tocontemporary political theory and link it to the rethinking of representation, toidealisation in political theory, and to the understanding of anti-austerity politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary Political Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Contemporary Political Theory. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Devenney, M., Howarth, D., Norval, A. et al. Contemp Polit Theory (2016) 15: 304. is available online at:


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