What Is a People?

Hardcover | May 3, 2016

byAlain Badiou, Judith ButlerTranslated byJody Gladding

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What Is a People? seeks to reclaim "people" as an effective political concept by revisiting its uses and abuses over time. Alain Badiou surveys the idea of a people as a productive force of solidarity and emancipation and as a negative tool of categorization and suppression. Pierre Bourdieu follows with a sociolinguistic analysis of "popular" and its transformation of democracy, beliefs, songs, and even soups into phenomena with outsized importance. Judith Butler calls out those who use freedom of assembly to create an exclusionary "we," while Georges Didi-Huberman addresses the problem of summing up a people with totalizing narratives. Sadri Khiari applies an activist's perspective to the racial hierarchies inherent in ethnic and national categories, and Jacques Rancière comments on the futility of isolating theories of populism when, as these thinkers have shown, the idea of a "people" is too diffuse to support them. By engaging this topic linguistically, ethnically, culturally, and ontologically, the voices in this volume help separate "people" from its fraught associations to pursue more vital formulations.

Together with Democracy in What State?, in which Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Daniel Bensaid, Wendy Brown, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Kristin Ross, and Slavoj ?i?ek discuss the nature and purpose of democracy today, What Is a People? expands an essential exploration of political action and being in our time.

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What Is a People? seeks to reclaim "people" as an effective political concept by revisiting its uses and abuses over time. Alain Badiou surveys the idea of a people as a productive force of solidarity and emancipation and as a negative tool of categorization and suppression. Pierre Bourdieu follows with a sociolinguistic analysis of "...

Alain Badiou is the René Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School. He also teaches at the École Normale Superieure and the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) served as chair of sociology at the Collège de France.Judith Butler is the Maxine Eliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric an...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:May 3, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231168764

ISBN - 13:9780231168762

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: This People Which Is Not One, by Bruno Bosteels1. Twenty-Four Notes on the Uses of the Word "People", by Alain Badiou2. You Said "Popular"?, by Pierre Bourdieu3. "We, the People": Thoughts on Freedom of Assembly, by Judith Butler4. To Render Sensible, by Georges Didi-Huberman5. The People and the Third People, by Sadri Khiari6. The Populism That Is Not to Be Found, by Jacques RancièreConclusion: Fragile Collectivities, Imagined Sovereignties, by Kevin OlsonNotesIndex

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A critical arsenal with which to think the tensions embedded in popular politics