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Political Science General

Universal Politics

by (author) Ilan Kapoor & Zahi Zalloua

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
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In Universal Politics, Ilan Kapoor and Zahi Zalloua argue that, in the face of the relentless advance of global capitalism, a universal politics is needed today more than ever. But rather than appealing to the narrow particularism of identity politics, the authors argue for a negative universality rooted in social antagonism (i.e., shared experiences of exploitation and marginalization). This conception of shared struggle avoids the trap of a neocolonial universalism, while foregrounding the politics of the systematically dispossessed and excluded.

The book examines what a universal politics might look like in the context of key current global sites of struggle, including climate change, workers' struggles, the Palestinian question, the refugee crisis, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Political Islam, the Bolivian state under Morales, the European Union, and COVID-19. It also discusses the main political ingredients, gaps, and limitations of a universal politics.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Ilan Kapoor is a Professor of Critical Development Studies at the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University, Toronto. His research focuses on psychoanalytic and postcolonial theory and politics, participatory development and democracy, and ideology critique. He is the author of The Postcolonial Politics of Development (2008), Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity (2013), and Confronting Desire: Psychoanalysis and International Development (2020); and editor of the collected volume, Psychoanalysis and the Global (2018).

Zahi Zalloua is the Cushing Eells Professor of Philosophy and Literature, Professor of French and Interdisciplinary Studies at Whitman College, and Editor of The Comparatist. He is the author of Being Posthuman: Ontologies of the Future (2021), Zizek on Race Toward an Anti-Racist Future (2020), Theory's Autoimmunity: Skepticism, Literature, and Philosophy (2018), Continental Philosophy and the Palestinian Question: Beyond the Jew and the Greek (2017), Reading Unruly: Interpretation and Its Ethical Demands (2014), and Montaigne and the Ethics of Skepticism (2003). He has also published articles, edited volumes, and special journal issues on globalization, literary theory, psychoanalysis, and cultural and trauma studies.