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From Marxist to Post-Marxist Populism: Ernesto Laclau’s Trajectory within the National Left and Beyond

In: Historical Materialism
Author:
Omar Acha University of Buenos Aires

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Abstract

Ernesto Laclau’s Marxist and post-Marxist works are best understood when they are embedded in the history of Argentina’s National Left. This socialist-populist current underpinned his strategic horizons onward of at least 1963. While purely theoretical interpretations of Laclau can sometimes be enlightening, they tend to lose sight of the historical density of the Argentine’s thought. Over the course of his working life, Laclau’s theories presented the Argentinean Left with a challenge concerning how to engage with Peronism: specifically, how to develop a leftist hegemonic project in an era when the working class remained stubbornly linked to a Peronist political identity. Laclau’s political trajectory and his understanding of Marxism are analysed here in order to explain the nature of his post-Marxism.

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