Library Addition: Ernesto Laclau, “Intellectual Strategies”

This is a small memorandum written as a guide to PhD students at the Ideology and Discourse Analysis (IDA) Programme at Essex University, which Laclau used to direct. In this text Laclau discusses, among other topics, the myth of the case study and the widespread idea that case and theory are two separate spheres. This discussion leads to the important concept of ‘intertextuality’, which I feel in certain aspects could be related to the Derridean concept of ‘iterability’ (repetition). Through intertextuality the distinction between theory and case gets blurred so that both spheres ascend into a morphological process. In that instance the distinction becomes a relationship, and through “applying” a theory, through the theory’s expression (ie. the case), the theory per se changes. Hence, the relationship between the “universal” theory and the “particular” case becomes constitutive of both spheres. This iteration, an example of what Derrida calls ‘iterability’, is a constant process. What’s also interesting with this memorandum is that it takes a different style of expression than an academic article, being written in the private context of a small Political Science department in the UK. I came across it as a student at Essex U’s discourse theory summer school, but I haven’t found it anywhere else, neither online nor as a published work.

Claes Wrangel

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