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Revista de Sociologia e Política

versão impressa ISSN 0104-4478versão On-line ISSN 1678-9873


MENDONCA, Daniel de. The notion of antagonism in contemporary political science: an analysis from the perspective of discourse theory. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2003, n.20, pp.135-145. ISSN 0104-4478.

The purpose of this article is to analyze the use of the philosophical notion of antagonism within the context of Political Science. Its theoretical and epistemological framework pertains to the arena of Discourse Theory, as developed primarily by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, starting with their now classic 1985 work, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy - Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. If rigorously considered from a philosophical point of view, the notion of antagonism is sometimes employed by these authors in a generic and imprecise way. We contend that not only is antagonism responsible for the impossibility of a complete closure of the meanings of a discourse, but the very self-referential way in which its structures work maintain a constant discursive "opening". Consequently, what we call the "double impossibility of complete discursive constitution" - due both to what is lacking and what is amply present-emerges.

Palavras-chave : Ernesto Laclau; Chantal Mouffe; Discourse Theory; discourse; antagonism.

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