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DSPO 25A09 - Applying Discourse Theory: Populism, Indignation and Political Identities

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

What is the importance of political identities in understanding recent events that have turned the world upside down, such as the new “indignation” protests (Occupy, Indignados, Nuit Debout) and the emergence of populism (Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Front National)? How are ideologies formed in these movements? What is the role of political dispute in winning hearts and minds? To answer this kind of question, the course proposes to introduce, develop, and critically engage key concepts of Discourse Theory. In particular, the course, referring to a wide range of sources, including poststructuralism and psychoanalysis, explains how political identities are discursively constructed on antagonisms and how different discourses dispute the hegemony of the construction of these identities.


ZICMAN DE BARROS, Thomas (Doctorant)

Course validation

Three key passage proposals (40% of the grade): a one-page paper consisting of the selection and comment on an important passage of an assigned reading material; Final take-home essay (40% of the grade): a 2,000-word essay on a general topic; In-class participation (20% of the grade).

Required reading

  • Butler, Judith. “‘We, the People' – Thoughts on Freedom of Assembly” In Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, 154-192. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.
  • Glynos, Jason, and Yannis Stavrakakis. “Lacan and Political Subjectivity: Fantasy and Enjoyment in Psychoanalysis and Political Theory.” Subjectivity 24, no. 1 (September 2008): 256–74.
  • Laclau, Ernesto. “Populism: What's in a Name?” In Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, edited by Francisco Panizza, 32–49. London: Verso, 2005.
  • Moffitt, Benjamin. “The Problems with Populism” In The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style, and Representation, 11-28. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2017.
  • Zac, Lilian, and Bobby Sayyid. “Political Analysis in a World Without Foundations.” In Research Strategies in the Social Sciences: A Guide to New Approaches, edited by Elinor Scarbrough and Eric Tanenbaum, 249–67. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Additional required reading

Videos: Obama, Barack. “A More Perfect Union”, March 18th, 2008.