Post-Structuralist Hegemony

  • Alex WilliamsEmail author
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)


Laclau and Mouffe’s 1980s and 1990s expansion of the idea of hegemony in many respects marked an advance on that put forward by Gramsci. However, as this chapter argues, it also resulted in a number of problematic developments. While in some respects they were able to generalise the operation of hegemony to cover a far wider number of different forms of politics (from feminism to black civil rights and beyond), in other ways they simplified the variegated hegemony as understood by Gramsci into a thinner and ultimately less convincing form. This chapter sets out an analysis and critique of Laclau and Mouffe’s hegemony, from the standpoint of a political complexity theory. It concludes that while their expansion of the remit of hegemony was essential, their exact reformulation serves as an adequate modelisation of power and political contention in the limited arena of ideological political discourse.


Hegemony Laclau Mouffe Complexity Discourse Radical democracy 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication StudiesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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