The Politics of Semiotic Unification in a Fragmented and Populist World

Populism, December 18, 2008 | © Courtesy of Dr Case/Flickr.
Populism, December 18, 2008 | © Courtesy of Dr Case/Flickr.

On October 31, 2018, Michael Hauser has published an article entitled “The Politics of Unification in a Fragmented World: Metapopulism and the Precariat” in Open Cultural Studies.

A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.

In his paper, Michael Hauser has inquired into how the present-day “society shows “paralogical” traits and paralogy reverberates in the new populist policy” (307), such as in the United States and Russia. According to Hauser, “[m]etapopulism establishes unifying principles as a substitute of liberal universalism” (307), as part of the metamorphoses that political power undergoes in the present period. The author proposes to approach the new political populism, such as that of Trump and Putin, as “the emerging form of political power […] that involves the Greek notion “metaxy,” which means a state in-between. Accordingly, metapopulism is found in-between democracy with the particularised logic and populism with the hegemonised one” (307).

This allows Hauser to argue that “the new populism is linked up to the changes in our society that presently shows the upswing of heterogeneous and fragmented communities without a common communicative code” (308). The author adds that “[t]he liberal universalism of citizenship has been disintegrated as an effect of the intensified fragmentary tendency of neoliberal capitalism” (308). According to Hauser, “[t]he paralogical discourse of metapopulism, however, is too unstable and volatile to have the power to unfold unifying principles that would substitute liberal universalism” (310).

In his conclusion, Hauser shows that “Harvey, Jameson, etc. show that neoliberal capitalism resulted in communities living in different worlds among which an uncommunicative ‘otherness’ prevails. […] The ideological and cultural structure of society corresponds to the Lyotardian paralogy that is a coexistence of heterogeneous “language games” with temporary contracts without being bound to a unifying meta-language” (316). In this respect, this author explores “the chasm between the signifier and the signified [as part of] […]  the theoretical and praxeological operation of imputation [that] could transform paralogies and social psychosis into the experience of true representation that would be provided by the sublimated Real signifier” (317).

By Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: Populism, December 18, 2008 | © Courtesy of Dr Case/Flickr.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "The Politics of Semiotic Unification in a Fragmented and Populist World," in Open Culture, 30/01/2019,

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