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Ernesto Laclau
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Philosopher
    (October 6, 1935-April 13, 2014)
    Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Graduated from University of Buenos Aires (1964)
    Received PhD from University of Essex (1977)
    Post-Marxist philosopher who argued that the class conflict identified by Karl Marx has been replaced by new ideas of identity
    Also argued that populism is formed from the creation of words and ideas that express the notion of justice
    Wrote 'Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory' (1977), 'Hegemony and Socialist Strategy' (with Chantal Mouffe; 1985), 'New Reflections on the Revolution of our Time (1990), 'The Making of Political Identities' (1994), 'Emancipations' (1996), 'Contingency, Hegemony, Universality' (with Judith Butler and Slavoj Žižek; 2000), 'On Populist Reason' (2005), and 'The Rhetorical Foundations of Society' (2014)
    Director of the Centre for Theoretical Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Essex (1990-97)
    Developed the Essex School of discourse analysis, a research framework striving for innovative analyses of concrete political phenomena
    Died of a heart attack in Seville, Spain
    His ideas influenced socialist governments in Latin America as part of the 'Pink Tide'.
    His post-Marxist idea on new ideas of identity challenging class conflict upsets his traditional leftist friends who though he lost sight of Marxist ideas.
    His disagreements with Žižek over philosophical issues devolved into a deterioration of their mutual relations.
    His goal to rehabilitate the term 'populism' from its negative connotation has alarmed some people.
    His advocacy of 'radical democracy' puts into question the issue of stability, which he responded by saying that democracy is dangerous because of the 'mob mentality' issue, which also puts his general stance on democracy into question.
    The Essex School of discourse analysis has proven to be popular among MA and PhD students.
    He was close friends with leading political figures in Argentina, including Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, whose policies are influenced by his philosophy.
    He argued that leftists shouldn't be embarrassed by accusations of populism, as he pointed out to the existence of right-wing populism.
    His inquiring manner of speaking made him an adept interrogator who could identify stupid statements and respond to them sarcastically.
    He and his wife Chantal Mouffe proved that class conflict isn't the only social issue people face.

Credit: Big Lenny


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