Essay Text

Modes of Assembly: Art, the People, and the State

Dave Beech

Download PDF

Masses, mobs, audiences, crowds, publics: these social bodies each have distinctive differences from one another. In “Modes of Assembly,” artist Dave Beech sketches the differences among these groups—including comparisons in their constituents’ physical proximity, the impetuses for their constitutions as a group, or the position of their addressees. For example, Beech suggests that the form of “the public,” is constituted by publications and thus can be geographically dispersed and assemble for a comparatively longer duration. Crowds are drawn into being by mutual will to amass into events, but audiences dissipate right when the performance ends—then transforming back into crowds or individuals. Dwelling on these social formations, with special attention paid to “the people” as either self-constituted or named by the state, Beech then proposes an antagonistic politic of publics.

Will, or should, these social formations hold under current conditions? For instance, the distinction between a “proximate audience” and a “virtual audience” blurs at a time when stadiums fill with the faces of live-streamed spectators, or a newscaster’s child interrupts a television broadcast. Previously, public government monuments interpellated pedestrians into a people (as named by the state) by way of “perambulatory politics,” but the movements of this time are radically shifting that dynamic. Perhaps the recent removals and transformations of monuments evidence the authorship of new group subjectivities, whose addressee is yet another self-constituted people. Amid these shifts, “Modes of Assembly” offers a framework with which to imagine the new collectivities being constituted by this moment’s forms of mobilization and mediated assembly.

– BAK team, 8.7.2020


Modes of Assembly: Art, the People, and the State

From: FORMER WEST: Art and the Contemporary After 1989, Maria Hlavajova and Simon Sheikh, eds. (Utrecht: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst and Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016), pp. 559-569.

The cultivated rejection of mass culture is best understood as an attack on the masses, according to the cultural theorist Stuart Hall.[1] Likewise, then, the hatred of popular culture betrays an antipathy to the people. But does the renunciation of mass culture differ from or duplicate the disapproval of popular culture? If mass culture is distinguishable from popular culture, it is not because the former is a market and the latter is authentic, but because the masses can be detached from the people. I am not thinking of differences in connotation. “The masses” does not refer to the same social formation as “the people.”

When speaking of the people, and thinking about the relationship between art and the people, it is important to differentiate various constructions of social bodies. Differences in connotation are only a clue to differences of social being. The people is not the blockade, the riot, or the kettle. Masses, mobs, audiences, crowds, markets, publics, and the people are each constituted differently.

In order to address these differences, we need to examine how each mode of the social body is formed, what mechanisms are used in their formation, what technologies bind them, how they are institutionalized, and to which apparatuses they belong. Different mechanisms and processes of social construction result in different modes of assembly. Technologies of mass distribution and broadcasting produce different modes of assembly from technologies of global information networks. Charismatic leaders forge different social bodies from those produced by collective struggles against the state, even if these social bodies are of the same scale. Groups that act together are constituted differently from groups that come together through representatives.

What I am pursuing here is captured in part by sociologist Gabriel Tarde’s distinction between “the crowd” and “the public” in his 1898 essay “Le Public et la Foule.” The crowd, he argues, is ancient, whereas the public is only possible after the invention of the printing press. The crowd is a congregation of bodies in a place (Tarde specifies the pulpit, the lectern, the platform, and the stage), but the public is linked by publications and is therefore spatially dispersed. Also, while it is possible to belong “simultaneously to several publics,” one can belong to only “one crowd at a time.”[2] Finally, while there is a limit to the size of crowds, “the public can be extended indefinitely.”[3] Neither markets nor states produce a public. Consumers have cash, voters have votes, but members of a public have opinions, make judgements, and hold values that they express by responding to, and producing, publications that include well-constructed arguments, but also applause, heckles, chants, and boos.

Mobs are like crowds insofar as they assemble as bodies, face to face, or cheek by jowl, but mobs have a confrontational purpose that crowds lack. The masses (understood as the addressee of mass culture, mass politics, mass education, and so on) are dispersed receivers of industrially produced goods, services, and information. Crowds (I’m thinking of football crowds and the like) form around events (existing beforehand and afterwards as they travel), whereas audiences dissolve immediately following a performance, sometimes turning into crowds and sometimes turning into individuals. The difference between a crowd and a mass is alluded to in artist and theorist David Rushton’s interpretation of the distinction between a “proximate audience” and a “virtual audience,” with the observation that a football game’s television audience (which is a mass rather than an audience of the type found at the cinema or theater, since it is of a greater scale and spatially dispersed) is not capable of participating in the Mexican wave of the crowd.[4] Mobs and crowds do not watch TV except by reassembling in a dispersed manner as the receivers of mass culture. The masses do not confront power and privilege directly, except, for instance, by congregating in much smaller numbers as mobs on the street.

Through what kind of mechanism is the people constituted? What apparatuses address a social body as the people? Popular culture addresses the people, and popular culture is one of the terrains on which the people is contested, shaped, reconstituted, and contained. To speak of popular culture and the people is to enter into a political dialogue. However, the people is not reducible to an audience or public of popular culture, because the people is not constituted primarily as a cultural entity. The people is an irreducibly political entity. “We the people” is a politicizing speech act because it calls the people into existence as a political body. Philosopher Judith Butler is therefore right to argue that “gathered bodies that find themselves and that constitute themselves as ‘we the people’ shake abstractions.”[5] Despite the serious connotative gulf between them, therefore, the people and the mob are alike insofar as they are constituted politically.

Ordinarily, “the mob” names a political minority, whereas “the people” signifies a political majority, and “the mob” alludes to intense action, albeit temporary, whereas the concept of “the people” is usually indifferent to states of activity and inactivity. While “the mob” is not a name given by the mob to the mob, but is assigned pejoratively from the outside, the name of “the people” can be either given or taken. As well as being constituted through acts in which gathered bodies speak of themselves as “we the people,” the people is also constituted from the outside when named and designated officially by the state as the people, or by a sovereign as “my people.” That is to say, the people can be constituted in one of two ways and therefore has two distinct connotations, one in which the people represents self-constituted popular political agency and one in which the people represents the collective subject of power.

According to philosopher Giorgio Agamben, the term “the people” always indicates three separate social entities: “the poor, the underprivileged, and the excluded”; “the constitutive political subject”; and “the class that is excluded—de facto, if not de jure from politics.”[6] Although it confirms that the people is principally a political term, this is an incomplete taxonomy as it omits the people as a self-constituted collective subject, as “we the people,” for example. Despite being incomplete, this list can also be reduced. The first of Agamben’s three categories is purely descriptive (referring to the naive concept of the people as distinct from the elite), while the third is the analytic formulation of the same concept. Both can be subsumed under the second category insofar as the constitutive political subject of a state incorporates the poor, the underprivileged, and the excluded, who collectively are denied access to power. We are left with two key concepts of the people: the constitutive political subject and the self-constituted collective political subject.

Also confirming that the people is constituted politically, political theorist Ernesto Laclau argues that no particular social group counts as the people and no particular set of demands counts as popular. The people differs from the “homogeneous, undifferentiated mass”[7] for Laclau insofar as the former is the name of a hegemonic set of demands shared by heterogeneous groups, while the latter collapses all differences into mere identity. The people, for Laclau, is formed through a battery of shared demands that allow a particular group to occupy the empty space that represents the community as a whole. As he states, “an ensemble of equivalent demands articulated by an empty signifier is what constitutes a ‘people.’”[8] Populism is driven by particular social factors, which is why there are national populisms, ethnic populisms, agrarian populisms, and regional populisms. The people is always qualified by particularity.

Laclau, in fact, does not inquire into the formation of the people at all. He is interested in the “populist form.[9] Since “populism has no referential unity,”[10] the people is not constituted prior to or independent of the triumph of a specific and contingent set of demands that appear subsequently as representing society as a whole. The people is the name given or taken by populism, not the other way round. The people, therefore, has no substance and corresponds to no specific mode of assembly. Populism is not the expression of the people (or else populism would be an epiphenomenon), hence populism shapes the people (thus Laclau turns the people into the epiphenomenon of populism).

While Laclau associates the people with “the underdog (the plebs),”[11] giving the superficial impression of a progressive politics of the people, ultimately, for him, “there is no a priori guarantee that the ‘people’ as a historical actor will be constituted around a progressive identity.”[12] Not only is he scrupulous about leaving the political content of the people open, so that it can be filled by any social particularity or identity, he is also committed to leaving it open to being deployed by authoritarian minorities as well as emancipatory movements. His politics of the people is therefore conceptually coherent, but politically eclectic. The people, as empty signifier, is not constituted according to the specific social mechanisms and processes of particular modes of assembly, but merely signifies the capture of hegemonic power.

The political ambivalence of Laclau is absent from philosopher Alain Badiou’s concept of the people, which is identified with the state and therefore with a bundle of structural exclusions. He reads phrases such as the “people of France” as referring to an “inert ensemble of those to which the State has given the right to be called French.”[13] Politically, he argues, we should accept this linguistic conjuncture (people of + national identity) only when it designates “a political process in progress, such as ‘people of Algeria’ during the French war in Algeria.”[14] Badiou also argues that “the people,” as it is addressed by power, always refers to a minority (that which is minor). Whether addressed by the sovereign, supranational governmental agencies, the law, the military apparatus, or the nation-state, the people is configured and constituted as subjected to a specific matrix of power. That is to say, the people is a specific mode of social affiliation required by the state (understood in the broadest Marxist sense as a society configured by the domination of one class over all others). The people is a social construction of the dominated by the ruling class. A monarch has a people to which the monarch does not belong. A ruling aristocracy differentiates itself from the people who are ruled. A democratic government governs a people, not the electorate that elects it. The people designates a specific relation to the ruling elite, namely of being rightly subject to it.

The history of political philosophy from Plato to Carl Schmitt is “essentially anti-political,” philosopher Simon Critchley argues, explaining, “what such a tradition of political thinking fears most is the people, the radical manifestation of the people.”[15] The qualification (“radical manifestation of”) is necessary to distinguish between two conceptual configurations of the people. On the one hand, “the people” refers to popular social forces, the active connotation of the masses, the politicized version of the community, and so on; yet, on the other hand, “the people” means “the purported unity of das Volk or le peuple shaped by [the] destiny of the state in accordance with their national essence.”[16] But can the feral concept of the people be fully disentangled from the interpellation of the people by the state?

The people has two political ontologies, two sets of connotations, and is constituted according to two distinct mechanisms that are linked through a precise opposition. Each is constituted differently: one from outside and the other from within, and one as minor and the other as agent, at least in principle. Rather than choosing between the radical and subversive version of the people, on one hand, and the people as the collective addressee of the state, on the other (the former being more politically promising and the latter more politically critical), we can think them together dialectically. Each is bound to the other. When compared with the radical concept of the people, the state’s concept of the people is inherently vulnerable to critique as it contains the promise of a popular conception of the people within itself. However, by the same token, the radical concept of the people is vulnerable to the state’s concept of the people, which it shadows and threatens only by promising to become legitimate and universal, i.e., taking the place of the dominant concept of the people. As such, both concepts of the people dream of becoming the other on their own terms. The people, as interpellated by the state, signals a desire for a genuinely popular people that is nonetheless subject to state sovereignty, whereas the people of popular self-constitution signals a genuine political power and dominant force, albeit perhaps not in the form of a state.

It is this unstable, politically troubled, and dialectical concept of the people that I want to place in relation to art. If we continue to think of the people in terms of specific modes of social assembly and particular constitutions of social being, then the relationship between art and the people can be understood by comparing the constitution of the people with the constitution of art’s publics. If the people is a primarily political entity and art’s publics are generally constituted culturally, then art’s relationship to the people will not be straightforward, direct, or unmediated.

Let us consider a set of guiding propositions about art and the people in detail:

The addressees of art are vital to its politics. If, in theorizing art, we do not pay close attention to what philosopher Bruno Latour calls “the strange specificity of human assemblages,”[17] and therefore to the differences between the masses, the people, and the public, then our artistic revolutions will be half-baked. Walter Benjamin’s dashed hopes about how culture might be reconfigured as a result of the introduction of technologies of mechanical reproduction must now be reinterpreted not as the utopian content of technology, but as the revolutionary promise of non-capitalist social relations. This is to rethink art’s modes of assembly. Art and its institutions do not manufacture a mass audience or import the masses from elsewhere, not even in the case of blockbuster exhibitions that are designed to capture thousands of tourists in several middle-sized rooms or a disused warehouse. If the combined audience of a dozen cinemas all spill out at the same time into a public art museum, they immediately lose their character as a mass or a crowd and are reassembled as so many isolated decipherers, critics, connoisseurs, art lovers, and debunkers.

If the people is constituted politically, then art’s relationship to the people must be brokered through a different mode of assembly, one which is constituted culturally. The point is not to cut culture off from politics. The people cannot be isolated from art and culture any more than art and culture can be isolated from politics or economics. However, when examining the relationship between art and the people, it is vital to remember that the people is not constituted culturally, and that artists address social entities that are constituted primarily as cultural subjects. Hence, when art encounters the people, it does so en passant.

Artworks cannot address the people because the people is not an addressee of culture, but a social body constituted by political processes. Artists who invoke the people in their work or in their public or private life, and artworks that thematize the people in form or content, do so in addition to addressing their public, audience, viewer, onlooker, participant, or reader. Political art that addresses itself to the people must do so via a cultural addressee, such as a public or an audience. The people is constituted for political art, for instance, as a public for political art.

Art since the eighteenth century has had a volatile relationship with the people. Art became art in the modern sense only when it was expropriated from the aristocracy in the name of “the people” by the authority of the state during the bourgeois revolution. When the bourgeoisie established national public art museums, open to all and free of charge, art was reinvented as a universal and abstract category of culture and these historical treasures were handed over to the people who were now seen as a new collective subject of the state. Art was retooled by the new dominant class to interpellate the people as the subjects of the liberal bourgeois state. One of the ways in which the new citizens of the bourgeois states recognized themselves as the people was by visiting art museums.

However, it was only historical art deposited in museums that was handed over to the people in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Romanticism and Realism, the two movements most closely associated with the bourgeois revolution and the new conception of art as universal and subjective, did not attach themselves to the people. Romanticism preferred rogues, bandits, rebels, outsiders, and individuals with unique sensibilities and special powers. Realism rejected inherited truths, both dominant and popular, for facts, observation, evidence, and forensic scrutiny. Bourgeois art did not orient itself directly toward the people, and even art in public museums was oriented principally toward the aesthetic subject and the amateur scholar of art history, rather than directly toward the people.

However, in retrospect, art appears to have always addressed itself to the people. Ceremonial statues, for instance, were integral to the public life of ancient societies. Ceremonial artifacts and religious art more generally, however, were never directed at “the people,” but at a quite different assemblage: these works addressed “believers” or “worshippers” or “the church.” Civic monuments, war memorials, and exterior mural painting are not oriented toward “the people,” but at the public, even if they contribute to the ideological formation and maintenance of the people. Public art, a term that was coined at the beginning of the twentieth century, addresses itself to inhabitants and passersby by interpellating them as belonging to, or guests of, a civic community.

While art’s relationship to the people has been established, formally at least, with art’s reconfiguration during the bourgeois revolution, and exemplified by art’s political purpose for the proletarian revolution, art has typically preferred to address publics, often constituted from individuals of various kinds, rather than the people. Since the people is constituted politically and is either the subjects of the state or the self-constituted social entity of those who would replace the state, art summons the people only by risking assimilation to the existing or ideal state.

Art addresses itself to publics rather than communities or the people. Literary and social theorist Michael Warner distinguishes between three types of public: (a) a kind of social totality, namely the public; (b) a concrete gathering; and (c) the “kind of public that comes into being only in relation to texts and their circulation.”[18] If we are to translate Warner’s taxonomy into the terms I have been using, (a) is society or the social formation[19] (or perhaps the people), (b) is an audience or crowd, and (c) is a public. Publics are constituted around publications. However, sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas’ concept of the public sphere, which Warner’s arguments are based on, argues that the public sphere is a mode of social constitution built on discursive interaction, opinion formation, and value, rather than the mechanisms of state and the market, and must be laced with dissent in order to model a conception of the collective addressee of art. It is possible to think of publics as a specific social formation for the contestation of the very values that constitute them in the first place.

Modern art is constituted, according to literary and cultural critic Andreas Huyssen, through an asymmetrical dichotomy with mass culture, which can be associated with “the people,” but is clearly not a substitute for “the people.” Hall places popular culture on the other side of the same shifting boundary. Art has troubled relations with numerous vectors within the social field. This complex set of tensions and antagonisms cannot satisfactorily be reduced to the simple binary opposition of art and “the people.” When philosopher Roger Taylor argues that art is “an enemy of the people,” he does so by paying attention to the socially inflated use of the word “art” to mark cultural distinctions, without paying attention to the concept of the people that he deploys. For Taylor, the people is the proletariat or the working class as well as, interchangeably, the collective subject of popular or mass culture. Since, for Taylor, art is the culture of a bourgeoisie that is structured by its differentiation from the people or the proletariat, or perhaps, more specifically, the pleasures and protocols of popular culture or entertainment, for him, the educated middle class, the cultivated, do not belong to the people. In this sense, the argument that art is an enemy of the people replicates the naive and vague concept of the people in which “virtue resides in the simple people”[20] rather than in the ruling elite.

Despite the efforts of advertising, marketing, and publicity, Taylor imagines the people of popular culture constituting itself independently of the manufacturers of popular culture. Popular culture has never actually oriented itself toward the people, but rather toward a kaleidoscopic ensemble of individual consumers technologically or spatially united in a mass. “The masses” has not been coined as a synonym for “the people.” As Marxist critic Raymond Williams tells us, it has been, rather, “a new word for the mob,” with associations of “gullibility, fickleness, herd-prejudice, lowness of taste and habit.”[21] Taylor’s concept of the people is not a concept of the people at all, therefore, since it is nothing but a positive recoding of the masses as the spontaneously authentic expression of working-class cultural preferences, rather than the dupes of consumerism or the consumers produced by the culture industry.

Although his book concerns the relationship between art and the people, Taylor does not see the people as culturally constituted, but rather as a cultural expression of a political entity. The people, for Taylor, is the working class considered as a cultural rather than an economic or political and social entity. This version of the people is pre-constituted by its political and economic condition as a class that is expressed negatively by the cultivated culture that excludes it.

Avant-garde practices of negation in art are neither for the people nor against the people. This is the case even when these practices negate or nominate the culture that the masses or the markets prefer, since they address the assembled viewers and participants as the subjects of a particular kind of cultural experience, not the political experience of being or becoming a people. To address people as subjects capable of either becoming wild (in alliance with the avant-garde) or going mad (with indignation against it) does not enact a split within the political body (say, between the rulers and the people), but amplifies the tensions within an already divided culture. Although avant-gardism and modernism have become a minority culture, in Williams’s terms, the enemy of the avant-garde has not been the people, but, more often than not, the bourgeoisie. It is true that the avant-garde has punched holes in the social fabric and was chronically unpopular for half a century, but we must not forget that the campaign to drive a wedge between art and the bourgeoisie sent the avant-garde into the arms of the philistines, with their love of the circus, cabaret, and sport. It is on this basis that we might develop an accurate understanding of the relationship between the avant-garde and the people.

The strongest historical instance of art’s relationship to the people is Socialist Realism, which was an art of the people not despite being official state art, but because of it. Critic Clement Greenberg is wrong to equate Socialist Realism with kitsch; his mistake has been conflating the people with the masses. Soviet posters, both Realist and modernist, had already established a relationship between art and the people insofar as they assigned the people a revolutionary role. Russian Constructivism did not persist with this relationship, but Lenin’s policy of “monumental propaganda” did. Initiated with a decree issued by the Council of People’s Commissars and given its brief by the People’s Commissariat for Enlightenment, Lenin’s monuments called forth a new revolutionary people through the depiction of assassins, insurgents, and avant-gardists, and impelled that “the masses would see history as they walked through the city.”[22] This perambulatory politics can be understood as a technique for converting passersby into a people of the proletarian revolution and the socialist state.

While revolutions only survive if they successfully reconstitute the people, artists and revolutionaries have this in common: they do not address themselves to the people. Lenin had dismissed any talk about “popular government elected by all, sanctified by the whole people”[23] in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Revolutionaries call forth a new revolutionary people, represent the people, and emancipate the people as a whole, but they accomplish this by dividing the people and rigorously splitting its false unity into camps, classes, cadres, and forces. Hence, the people is “an entity that would have been anathema to classic Marxist theory.”[24] Unity is not uniformly rejected, but is deployed against itself: securing the unity of revolutionary forces is the prerequisite for dismantling the ideological and operational unity of the existing social formation designated by the state. In this formulation, the people represents the social body subjected to the state or, at best, the state’s critical shadow. Would we call the social body formed by a process of universalization that exceeds the state, or by the mode of social organization that comes after the state (what Marxist Raya Dunayevskaya calls the “non-state to be”), the people? If not, what about the commons? Williams built his politics of culture around the concept of “our common life,” and art critic Thomas Crow writes about the “common culture.” Here, we have a political trope that might be preferable to “the people.” Recent thinkers, who have taken refuge in talking about the commons when talking of the people, might have undermined their politics and diminished their readership. The commons is, in effect, the radical version of the concept of the people. It is presupposed to be in conflict with the state, but nevertheless dreams of dismantling the state and replacing it with itself as a non-state.

Contemporary art’s social turn has not been theorized in terms of the people, but rather in terms of an overhauled concept of community and, less often, the commons. Part of the problem with the concept of the people for contemporary theories of participation is its intangibility. Specific communities, especially insofar as these are constructed around actual places or institutions, appear to be preferable to the general concept of the people. It might appear as if the people, since it is a great abstraction, can be best experienced empirically in the shape of individual, local communities, but the people and community are formed according to different mechanisms and processes. Given this important distinction between the people and the community, it is doubtful that artists actually address themselves to the communities that participate in their works. Communities cannot be addressed by art directly, but need to be converted into cultural actors of one sort or another. Art’s participants are carriers of information, bearers of identity, holders of opinion, and so forth. In short, participants are not the people; they are members of publics.

The people has always seemed too tranquil a concept for the left, too open-handed in its embrace of everyone regardless of class position or political persuasion. For psychoanalytic philosopher Slavoj Žižek, “in the leftist perspective, accepting the radically antagonistic—that is, political—character of social life, accepting the necessity of ‘taking sides,’ is the only way to be effectively universal.”[25] This is why Laclau recharges populism with the antagonism of hegemonic struggle, albeit with the effect of dropping political direction from the people altogether. Community, the commons, and the multitude are terms invoked in related attempts to reconvene a broadly popular political subject for radical change after the apparent demise of the working class as a revolutionary force. Contemporary artists, curators, and writers have been sniffing around these concepts in the hope of navigating a route into socially engaged practice after the dissolution of the old certainties of avant-gardism, political art, community arts, practices of negation, and pronouncements of commitment. If art is to connect with these popular conceptions of the social totality, it must do so via the production and maintenance of publics. Since publics are configured and reconfigured by publications, including artworks, they are art’s primary addressees. What’s more, publics are entered by evaluation, judgment, and affiliation. Publics have a political advantage over the people or the commons: they operate according to the understanding that the only way to take part is to take sides.

This text is a revised version of a paper delivered during the FORMER WEST Public Editorial Meeting “Who is a ‘People’? Constructions of the ‘We,’” London, 27 28 February 2015.


[1] This interpretation of Stuart Hall comes from literary and cultural theorist Andreas Huyssen and refers to “Theories of Mass Culture,” a lecture by Hall at a conference on mass culture at the Center for Twentieth Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 25 April 1984. Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture and Postmodernism (1986; repr., London: Macmillan Press, 1988), p. 47.

[2] Gabriel Tarde, On Communication and Social Influence: Selected Papers, ed. Terry N. Clark (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), p. 281.

[3] Ibid.

[4] David Rushton, Don Quixote’s art and television: Seeing things in art and television (Edinburgh: Institute of Local Television, 1998), p. 4.

[5] Judith Butler quoted in Lambert,“# POLITICS /// What is a People: Butler, Badiou, Bourdieu, Ranciere, Khiari & Didi-Huberman for La Fabrique ”The Funambulist, 10 July 2013, online at: badioubourdieu-ranciere-khiari-didi-hubermanfor-la-fabrique.

[6] Giorgio Agamben, Means Without End: Notes on Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), p. 28.

[7] Ernesto Laclau, On Populist Reason, (London: Verso, 2007), p. 200.

[8] Ibid., p. 171.

[9] Ibid., p. 17.

[10] Ibid., p. xi.

[11] Ibid., p. 224.

[12] Ibid., p. 246.

[13] Alain Badiou quoted in Leopold Lambert,“# POLITICS /// What is a People.”

[14] Ibid.

[15] Simon Critchley, Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics and Resistance (London: Verso, 2012), pp. 128–129.

[16] Ibid., p. 128.

[17] Bruno Latour, “Gabriel Tarde and the End of the Social,” in The Social in Question, ed. Patrick Joyce (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 119.

[18] Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), p. 50.

[19] Philosopher Louis Althusser warns against the term “society” and recommends replacing it with the term “social formation” in order to avoid the naturalization of a given set of social relations and in order to register the divisions and hierarchies that give society its form.    

[20] Peter Wiles, Populism (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1969), p. 166.

[21] Raymond Williams, Culture and Society 1780–1950 (1958; repr., London: Chatto and Windus, 2013), p. 298.

[22] Susan Buck-Morss, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), p. 42.

[23] Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, “Speech Delivered at the All-Russian Congress of Transport Workers, March 27, 1921,” in V. I. Lenin Selected Works, vol 2., part 2 (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1951), p. 507.

[24] Laclau, On Populist Reason, p. 122.

[25] Slavoj Žižek, The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology (London: Verso, 1999), p. 233.

Related content