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Reply George J. Andreopoulos What I have attempted to do in this paper is examine Venizelist Liberalism 's contribution during its "golden phase" (1910-20), by emphasizing developments on the political and ideological spheres, spheres which have been relegated to the status of residual categories in the works of certain Marxist and non-Marxist scholars alike. Mouzelis perceives my concern and accurately summarizes my main thesis which is that the success of the Liberal Party should be viewed in terms of a novel hegemonic project based on the subsumption of domestic socioeconomic reforms under irredentist themes; in such a context, irredentism was to constitute the articulating principle of Venizelist Liberalism, the nodal point in reference to which all elements acquired their location and timing within the Venizelist discourse . Hence my suggestion that this linkage between the domestic agenda and irredentist aspirations (the former subsumed under the latter) was in the form of a correlative relationship. Therefore, the term that Pollis uses to describe my main conclusion ("overshadowed") misses the point. Mouzelis raises the question of the analytical value of the people/ power bloc contradiction bearing in mind (a) the elusiveness of the concepts involved and (b) the underlying framework in Laclau's work which is Althusserian and which he himself has criticized in his subsequent work "as essentialist and overdeterministic" (I assume that Mouzelis refers to Hegemony and Socialist Strategy 1985, esp. pp. 97105 ). Unfortunately, space does not allow the type of detailed response that I would have preferred, but I will try to do my best under the circumstances. I never denied that the concepts are elusive. However, if one shares my view that the malleable class configuration of the Greek social formation at the turn of the century renders any attempt to understand the transition in purely class terms problematic, the aforementioned contradiction refers to a level of analysis in which one has Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 7, 1989. 231 232 George J. Andreopoulos to look at more complex configurations relating to balances rather than cleavages and to the unifying elements in a political discourse rather than the divisive ones. In such a context, cleavages emerge not as selfcontained entities existing above and beyond societal developments but as the result of a particular articulation within a political discourse; or to put it in another way, the class character of an element is determined not by its ad hoc assignment to a social agent but by its interaction with the articulating principle of a discourse. Such a framework will generate its own criteria for empirical validation and I see nothing wrong with that. Mouzelis argues that such a course is no substitute for a theoretically coherent conceptual framework enabling us to look "in a systematic, albeit empirically open-ended manner, at the functioning, structure and development of the polity . ..." I fully agree that one has to look at the long-term structural developments in the polity, and there is nothing in the people/power bloc contradiction that impedes ab initio such a perspective. My only problem with Mouzelis' proposition is that I am very uncertain as to the type of relation that he posits between his theoretically constructed framework and its empirically open-ended perspective; is there any room whatsoever for empirical validation? The other issue has to do with the Althusserian framework. Let me clearly state that by adopting the people/power bloc contradiction, I do not at all imply that I share the assumptions of the Althusserian paradigm. I have several strong reservations and I will briefly refer to some of them. I have not used the concept of interpellation which is central to Althusser's and Laclau's discussion of ideologies. This concept transforms individuals into subjects in a fixed manner since what determines the whole process are the reproductive exigencies of the social system. Hence, it allows no room for the voluntarist element in social struggles, it fails to explain change and articulate the contingent and is unable to theoretically provide for the formation of an ideology of the dominated forces (as Laclau himself acknowledges —concerning the latter—in his Politics and Ideology 1979 at page 101). In his more recent work Laclau...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 231-234
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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