Restoring society to post-structuralist politics: Mouffe, Gramsci and radical democracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s post-Marxist analysis pushed Gramsci’s anti-determinism to its limits, embracing a post-structuralist, discourse-centred politics. Mouffe’s subsequent programme for radical democracy has sought a renewed democratic left project. While radical democracy’s post-structuralism enables important insights into political subjectivity and antagonism in contemporary democracies, it also weakens its own critical and strategic capacity. By recuperating its Gramscian heritage, radical democracy could be more theoretically and politically effective. In contrast to discourses operating in an entirely open and contingent political field, Gramscian theory offers a more realist – but non-determinist – account of the structural, enabling and constraining properties of ideologies. It also allows for a distinctive institutional space for society. Society is the site upon which political identities are articulated, and from which existing power relations are challenged. But a conception of society also points to the institutional limits to politics, notable by their absence in post-structuralism and radical democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-315
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophy and Social Criticism
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Restoring society to post-structuralist politics: Mouffe, Gramsci and radical democracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this