vendredi 16 mars 2012

Ernesto Laclau: l'Hégémonie, une catégorie politique

“Are we all still agree that hegemony is a usefull category for describing our political dispositions ? “ My answer is certainly affirmative, and I would add only that ‘Hegemony’ is more than a useful category: it defines the very terrain in which a political relation is actually constituted. To ground this assertion, however, requires throwing some light on what is specific in a hegemonic order. I will attempt to do this through a consideration of the conceptual displacements that a hegemonic approach introduced in the basic categories of classical political theory.”[1] Et plus loin, dans son intervention:”Hegemony is, in this sense, the name for this unstable relation between the ethical and the normative, our way of addressing this infinite process of investments which draws its dignity from its very failure. The object being invested is an essentially ethical object. I would go even further: it is the only ethical object. (I think Emmanuel Levinas progressed to some extent towards this distinction between the ethical and the normative, through his differentiation between ethics and morality. He did not, however, resist the temptation to give some sort of content to ethics, which considerably diminished the radicalism of his undeniable breakthrough.) So going back to our original question, I would say that ‘Hegemony’ is a theorcal approach which depends on the essentially ethical decision to accept, as the horizon of any possible intelligibility, the incommensurability between the ethical and the normative ( the later including the descriptive). It is incommensurability which is the source of the unevenness between discourses, of a moment of investment which is not dictated by the nature of its object and which, as a result, redefines the terms of the relationship between what is and what ought to be (between ontology and ethics): ontology is ethical through and through, inasmuch as any description depends on the presence (through its absence) of a fullness which, while it is the condition of any description, makes any ûre descriptive utterly impossible. […] With these considerations, we have displaced the terms of the debate from the normative/descriptive distinction to one grounded in the incommensurability between ethics and the normative order.”[2] Et pour finir: “The only democratic society is one which permanently shows the contingency of its own foundations – in our terms, permanently keeps open the gap between the ethical moment and the normative order.”[3]

[1] « Identity and Hegemony : The Role of Universality in the Constitution of Political Logics », in Contingency, Hegemony, Universality - Contemporary Dialogues on the Left, éd. Verso, London, 2000, p.44
[2] p. 81
[3] p.86

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