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The Post-Political and Its DiscontentsSpaces of Depoliticization, Spectres of Radical Politics$
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Japhy Wilson and Erik Swyngedouw

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682973

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682973.001.0001

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Opening Up the Post-Political Condition:

Opening Up the Post-Political Condition:

Multiculturalism and the Matrix of Depoliticisation

(p.86) 4 Opening Up the Post-Political Condition
The Post-Political and Its Discontents

Nicolas Van Puymbroeck

Stijn Oosterlynck

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter responds to persistent calls to reflect on the depoliticized nature of many current political practices. We do so by engaging with post-foundational political thought, a perspective perhaps most known for the concept ‘post-politics’. The post-foundational perspective claims that society is inherently divided and posits a fundamental distinction between politics and the political. We build on this distinction to develop an analytical framework able to capture the full complexity of actually existing forms of depoliticisation. Our aim is to move beyond the ubiquitous and often only descriptively applied notion of the ‘post-political’ towards a more relational understanding of the dynamic tensions between politics and the political. Drawing on the work of Jacques Rancière, this chapter discusses multiple tactics for postponing politicization. We propose a matrix of four different figures of depoliticization and distinguish between archi-, meta-, para-, and ultra-politics. To illustrate how this analytical framework can be applied empirically, we use examples from the governance of multiculturalism by contemporary Western states.

Keywords:   Political Difference, Rancière, Post-Political Condition, Depoliticisation, Multiculturalism

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