Undecidability and the Political

Urs Stäheli

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In order to re-inscribe the political in terms of a politics of deparadoxization, I introduce Laclau’s concept of the political. This discussion of the political starts with the question of the role dislocation and undecidability occupy (1.) and how the theory of hegemony goes beyond deconstruction in theorizing the partial fixation of meaning as political process (2.). This concept of the political will be contrasted with Luhmann’s notion of paradoxical undecidabilities (3.1) and the paradoxical code of the political system (3.2). Following Zizek’s suggestion of a double inscription of the political dimension as political system and as the political, I argue that one can construct the political using Luhmann’s systems theory despite its absence in his theory. Such an approach deals with the problems of a binary code in a more attractive manner by situating the political in the ungraspable act of its inscription and alteration (4.). Yet, it is crucial to acknowledge that the contingency opened by the system’s paradox is still restricted by and bound to a structuralist understanding of contingency (5.).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
PublisherDepartment of Management, Politics and Philosophy, CBS
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)8791181631
Publication statusPublished - 2003
SeriesMPP Working Paper

Bibliographical note

Published in another version in: Urs Stäheli, 2000: Sinnzusammenbrüche, Eine dekonstruktive lektüre von Niklas Luhmanns Systemtheorie, Velbrück Wissenschaft, Göttingen.

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