The names of the people

21, 22 and 23 June 2012 - Time: 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Saturday
Associated project Seminars and Lectures
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
Organized by
Asociación Cultural Cruce and Museo Reina Sofía

What does the people mean? What is it that shapes a popular movement or the popular will? What are the limits, dangers and virtues of the new critical and emancipatory processes, sometimes misdescribed as populist? What differentiates the masses from the people or from a multitude? In other words, what are the different names of the people?

In view of phenomena such as the May 15 movement and mobilisations in defence of public education, which have been important in Spain over the last year, and similar processes in other parts of the world, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement or the Arab Spring, it is becoming more and more urgent that a detailed theoretical analysis be performed on the new political coordinates and their meaning in a global world. It is also necessary to ask what type of enlargement of the political is feasible in a world increasingly dominated by technocratic and purely administrative rationale of neoliberal capitalism.

This seminar aims to delve into these questions, the point of departure being the different critical and diagnostic notions developed in recent political philosophy. By doing so, the idea is to outline a possible cognitive cartography in relation to these phenomena, which are diverse and full of nuances, establishing dialogue between such important thinkers such as Toni Negri, Michael Hardt, Chantal Mouffe, Etienne Balibar, Ernesto Laclau and Jacques Rancière, among others, in light of the possible question about the meaning of a future European populism.


Hegemony and crisis: the organisation of the popular will in Gramsci and the problems of the multitude
Thursday 21 June, 6 p.m.
Session led by Germán Cano

An organic crisis, Antonio Gramsci reflected, is precisely when the old is dying and the new cannot be born. In such a situation, how does a collective political will develop? This presentation looks back at Gramsci's reflection in order to outline the strong points of the present, and to discuss the teachings that can be derived from his notion of hegemony.

Lacanian leftand hegemonic articulation: Ernesto Laclau's populist reason
Friday 22 June, 6 p.m.
Session led by Jorge Alemán

The 21 century implies a transformation in the ways of thinking about the political. Is it possible to speak of a Lacanian left in this context? Can the psychoanalytical framework be useful in reflections about a new ontology of the political? In recent decades both the Laclau project concerning “populist reason” and the works of Jorge Alemán have opened interesting new debates in this direction.

Do I hate democracy? The Rancière-Badiou debate
Session led by Ignacio Castro
Saturday, 23 June, 11 a.m.

Is there a way out of democracy that is not in turn a deepening of democracy? This debate, which is both implicit and open, between these two thinkers revolves around two questions. One, does a real exteriority exist from which to critique and improve upon democracy as a particular type of governmental regime? Two, is it possible to support the critique of parliamentary democracy through a type of social organisation that could once again look like some form of socialism or communism.

What are the names of the “people”?
Debate between Jorge Alemán. Germán Cano and Ignacio Castro
Saturday, 23 June, 5:30 p.m.

In this final session, in a debate with the audience, the conclusions drawn from the various lines of reflection around the notion ofthe people will be analysed, and at the same time an attempt will be made to draw a map of the question in relation to the new social movements.


Jorge Alemán
Psychoanalyst, honorary professor of the University of Buenos Aires. The director of various journals on psychoanalysis, his recent publications include: Soledad Común. Políticas en Lacan (2012); Psicoanálisis, retórica y política (with Ernesto Laclau, 2011); and Arte, Ideología y Capitalismo (with Slavoj Zizek, 2008).

Germán Cano
Philosopher. Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alcalá de Henares. He is also the author of the books Adoquines bajo la playa. Escenografías biopolíticas del 68 (2011); Como un ángel frío. Nietzsche y el cuidado de la libertad (2000). He also contributes regularly to the opinion section of the Spanish newspaper El País.

Ignacio Castro
Philosopher, writer and art critic. His thinking focuses on fields as diverse as philosophy, music, film, contemporary art and technology. He is the author of various essays, of which the following are particularly significant: Sociedad y barbarie (2012); La explotación de los cuerpos (2002); Crítica de la razón sexual (2002) and Trece ocasiones (2002).