Abstract

This article presents two theories of social change, developed by Ernesto Laclau and Alain Badiou. Laclau offers a theory of how political movements come to acquire wide acceptance. Badiou, by drawing conceptual resources from his elaborate ontological system, theorizes politics as a process by which something genuinely new comes to be in social situations. Tracing the implications of their respective approaches, this article identifies shortcomings in each. It argues, however, that the difficulties that are encountered are not solely indications of theoretical shortcomings, but are indicative of the real difficulty of both conceiving and practicing a politics of radical social change today.

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