In this episode of Always Already, Rachel, B, and Emily attempt to de-jargonizify the concepts universal and particular as they circulate in Contingency, Hegemony, Universality by Judith Butler, Slavoj Žižek, and Ernesto Laclau. In this discussion of Butler’s chapter “Competing Universalities” and Žižek’s chapter “Class Struggle or Postmodernism? Yes please!” the team tries to unpack what the terms of radical democracy are as they emerge from these pages. Is their form of radical democracy a project only for the intellectual? Can a contemporary articulation of radical democracy make sense when the main intellectual resources are primarily drawn from dead white men? Is it really possible to explain what a universal is without using jargon-laden tautology? Can we really conduct a successful podcast on a summer afternoon!? We also discuss a teaching related advice question that we’ve been asking of ourselves of late, and analyze a dream about life transitions!
Thank you to Amogh of the Symptomatic Redness Podcast for suggesting we talk about this book. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer on the show? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by B (intro) and Rachel and B (between segments and outtakes!).
- Contingency, Hegemony, Universality on Google Books
- Review of the book by Paul Bowman at Culture Machine
- Butler’s 3 minute overview of gender performativity at Big Think
- Žižek on democracy and capitalism at Big Think
- Butler, explained through cats