ABSTRACT

Ernesto Laclau, an Argentinian political theorist and philosopher, has taught and conducted research at a number of leading universities in the UK, North America and in his native Latin America. He is the foremost exponent of a distinctively post-Marxist approach to social analysis, which has developed over the past thirty or forty years. In elaborating this approach, he has articulated currents within poststructuralist theory (e.g. Derrida and Foucault) and post-analytical philosophy (e.g. Wittgenstein and Rorty), together with psychoanalysis (e.g. Freud and Lacan), so as to elaborate a novel method of discourse analysis. This approach is underpinned by a materialist conception of discourse, which deconstructs the realism/ idealism opposition, as well as the traditional dichotomies between thought and reality, linguistic and non-linguistic practices and mind and matter. His work has inspired a number of scholars in the social sciences and humanities, who have endeavoured to apply and develop his theoretical and methodological approach in various ways.1