Chantal Mouffe

Chantal Mouffe

Chantal Mouffe (born 1943 in Charleroi, Belgium) is a Belgian political theorist.



Chantal Mouffe studied at Louvain, Paris and Essex and has worked in many universities throughout the world (in Europe, North America and Latin America). She has also held visiting positions at Harvard, Cornell, Princeton and the CNRS (Paris). During the 1989-1995 period she served as Programme Director at the College International de Philosophie in Paris. She currently holds a professorship at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster in the United Kingdom, where she directs the Centre for the Study of Democracy.

She is best known for her contribution to the development – jointly with Ernesto Laclau, with whom they co-authored Hegemony and Socialist Strategy - of the so-called Essex School of discourse analysis,[1] a type of post-marxist political inquiry drawing on Gramsci, post-structuralism and theories of identity, and redefining Left politics in terms of radical democracy.

A prominent critic of ‘deliberative democracy’, (especially in its Rawlsian and Habermasian versions) she also known for her critical use of the work of Carl Schmitt, mainly the concept of ‘the political’, in proposing a radicalization of modern democracy – what she calls ‘agonistic pluralism’. She has recently developed an interest in highlighting the radical potential of artistic practices.


  • (ed.) Gramsci and Marxist Theory. London – Boston: Routledge / Kegan Paul, 1979.
  • (with Ernesto Laclau) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London – New York: Verso, 1985.
  • (ed.) Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community. London – New York: Verso, 1992.
  • The Return of the Political. London – New York: Verso, 1993.
  • Le politique et ses enjeux. Pour une démocratie plurielle. Paris: La Découverte/MAUSS, 1994.
  • (ed.) Deconstruction and Pragmatism. London – New York: Routledge, 1996.
  • (ed.) The Challenge of Carl Schmitt. London – New York: Verso, 1999.
  • The Democratic Paradox. London – New York: Verso, 2000.
  • (ed.) Feministische Perspektiven. Wien: Turia + Kant, 2001.
  • (ed.) The legacy of Wittgenstein: Pragmatism or Deconstruction. Frankfurt am Main – New York: Peter Lang, 2001.
  • On the Political. Abingdon – New York: Routledge, 2005.


  1. ^ See Jules Townshend, ‘Discourse theory and political analysis: a new paradigm from the Essex School?’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol. 5, No. 1, February 2003, pp. 129–142, and ‘Laclau and Mouffe’s Hegemonic Project: The Story So Far’, Political Studies, 52, 2004, pp. 269-288.


  • Anna Marie Smith, Laclau and Mouffe: The Radical Democratic Imaginary, London: Routledge, 1998.
  • David Howarth, Discourse, Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 2000.
  • Louise Philips and Marianne Jorgensen, Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method, London: Sage, 2002.
  • David Howarth, Aletta Norval and Yannis Stavrakakis (eds) Discourse Theory and Political Analysis, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002.
  • Jacob Torfing, New Theories of Discourse: Laclau, Mouffe, Zizek, Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.

See also

  • list of deconstructionists

External links

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