The Politics of Unification in a Fragmented World: Metapopulism and the Precariat

Michael Hauser 1
  • 1 Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Jilska 1,, Praha, Czech Republic


Neoliberal capitalism intensified the social fragmentation, which resulted in the upswing of heterogeneous communities without a unifying meta-language that was liberal universalism of citizenship. Our society shows “paralogical” traits and paralogy reverberates in the new populist policy I call metapopulism (Trump, Putin, etc.)-witness their inconsistencies. Metapopulism establishes unifying principles as a substitute of liberal universalism. These are allegory and the Real. An allegorical signifier (“patriotism” etc.), which is separated from the signified (the meaning), is a common representation of heterogeneous communities and simultaneously maintains their paralogy. The Real appears as the signifier that is excluded from “correct” liberal discourse and promises to enhance the experience of a system’s failures by attributing a social meaning to it (sublimation). These principles work on the condition that their promises are permanently thwarted and deferred, which is their spectrality. However, another type of unification may be feasible. It is a unifying discourse and practise that is grounded in a specific position of the “precariat” as the hegemonical class as formed by neoliberal capitalism (the Lukacsian concept). Here, a unification is borne by the praxis of sublimation.

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