Ep. 47 – Jürgen Habermas on Secularism and Democracy; Review of Get Out

In this episode of the Always Already Podcast we discuss two distinct, overlapping, and not-so-overlapping essays by Jürgen Habermas: “Three Normative Models of Democracy,” written in 1994, and “Notes on Post-Secular Society,” written in 2008. We begin by asking whether Habermas’ conception of deliberative democracy changes from the first to the second piece, taking into consideration his critiques of liberal democracy and liberalism across both pieces. We ask whether his model of deliberative democracy attempts to decenter the state or society as a whole; the extent to which his model accounts for workers, anti-work, the workplace and labor politics; and the gems of wisdom that he could gain from Marx’s “On the Jewish Question” (Full disclosure: this episode is grounded in the efforts of Emily, John and Rachel to talk out the paper they are co-writing on anti-work politics and democratic theory).

Stick around for a special review/Frantz-Fanon-driven analysis of the new film Get Out by friend of the podcast/Always Already Fanon Correspondent M. Shadee Malaklou. Shadee also helps John answer listener questions about attending a conference and about glee over a frenemy’s failed Kickstarter campaign.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here.Thanks to Leah Dion for the intro music and to B for the outro music. Special thanks to NEW musical feature aster for between-segment music off of their album a l w a y s a l r e a d y (check it out on bandcamp!). Get the mp3 of the episode here.


Jürgen on His Stuff

wikipedia; CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Ep. 23 – Butler and Žižek on Universality and Radical Democracy

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!).






Saba Mahmood’s Politics of Piety; Carol Gould on Interactive Democracy (Part I of Interview)

In this episode B, John, and guest-host Joanna Tice talk about Politics of Piety by Saba Mahmood (Chapters 1 and 5). Everyone was enthralled with this complex work, and we discuss why in terms of Mahmood’s account of agency as it relates to embodiment, religion, and social conditions, her deep engagement from and learning from the practices of the women in the Egyptian mosque movement she studied, and her engagement and critique of Western feminism for its overemphasis on resistance at the expense of understanding actors and their agential practices.

We also interview Carol Gould (Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at The Graduate Center and Hunter College, CUNY) on her forthcoming book, Interactive Democracy: The Social Roots of Global Justice. Our conversation covers contemporary democracy’s failed promises, social ontology, how to justify human rights, Gould’s new “interactive” conceptualization of democracy, and democratizing education.

Finally, we give advice on dissertation anxiety/writer’s block and on what to do if one’s dissertation distances them from their romantic partner.

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions to submit? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by B.


  • Saba Mahmood’s page at Berkeley
  • Politics of Piety on Google Books
  • Interview with Mahmood on the piety movement
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on poststructural feminist perspective on power
  • Review and critique of the book in Jadaliyya
  • Carol Gould’s homepage
  • Cambridge Univ. Press page for Interactive Democracy