Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xxii

In 1977, three years before his fatal accident, Roland Barthes was elected to the Chair of Literary Semiology at the Collège de France and gave the celebrated inaugural lecture that was published under the simple title Leçon (1978). It was a lesson in perfect Barthes fashion, on the power of a certain kind of...

Acknowledgments

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pp. xxiii-xxviii

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One The Poiein of Secular Criticism

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pp. 1-27

My initial interest here, before I elaborate on the capacity of the notion in question, is to situate the advent of secular criticism, not in the broad and nebulous sphere of the secularism debates (and the so- called post- secular universe that underlies them), but in the precise historical sphere to which it belongs....

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Two Detranscendentalizing the Secular

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pp. 28-64

My interest here is twofold: First, I want to reiterate in practice how the metaphysics of secularism can be subjected to secular criticism. This will serve to clarify further why I consider critiques of secularism that privilege religious morality, whether as modes of knowledge or of political action, to be no more...

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Three Why I Am Not a Post-secularist

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pp. 65-89

I am not a post-secularist because I am not even a secularist. I am an atheist.
Of these three presumed identifi cations, the last is the crucial one, if only because it resists the logic of identity, despite the explicit subjective affi rmation (“I am”). Saying this, I understand,...

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Four Confronting Heteronomy

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pp. 90-119

To presume to speak under such a heading with an impetus to engage the real world is a bit of a folly, for confronting heteronomy is an almost impossible task beyond mere discourse. But it is something that Cornelius Castoriadis— whose thought I examine here in this light— spent his entire life thinking about and acting on, something that most people in most societies in...

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Five The Void Occupied Unconcealed

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pp. 120-144

Claude Lefort’s contribution to political theory, especially theories of bureaucracy and totalitarianism, modernity, and democracy, is enormous. Yet much of Anglophone scholarship in recent years has been drawn primarily to “The Permanence of the Theologico-Political?” (1981), an essay read largely in isolation from the complexity of an oeuvre that spans more than ...

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Six Responding to the Deregulation of the Political

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pp. 145-180

I remember the devastating irony of a New York Times frontpage photograph on Thanksgiving Day 2011 depicting a row of people who had pitched tents outside a Best Buy department store in Mesquite, Texas. Alas, the campers were not staging an Occupy Best Buy but positioning themselves at the head of the ...

Index

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pp. 181-188