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Title: Complexity & hegemony : technical politics in an age of uncertainty
Author: Williams, Alexander
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates the problematic of social and political complexity. It attempts to answer the question of how power operates in a world of complex and globalised social, political, and economic systems. The basic claims of the thesis are as follows. Firstly, we can find the tools to understand social complexity in complexity theory. In turn, the conceptual innovations of complexity theory can be deployed to rethink the pre-existing political theoretical tradition of hegemony. We argue that the most significant existing theories of hegemony have been produced in relation to moments of increasing real world social complexity, and that there exists an under-developed seam of thinking already within the tradition which evokes key concepts from complexity theory. Therefore, the flaws in existing theories of hegemony can be remedied by conceptualising the complexity of hegemony in a rigorous way using the formal resources of complexity theory. To do so, the thesis first defines the necessary conditions for and properties of complex systems, as investigated by complexity science. It then outlines a general theory of social and political complexity. It develops an original reading of Gramscian hegemony, while critically appraising Laclau and Mouffe’s articulatory variant of the concept. It then brings together insights from the field of complexity theory to rethink the basic concepts of hegemony, before applying the theory to the investigation of the persistence of Neoliberalism after the 2008 financial crisis. In so doing, it establishes the grounds for a new theory of complex hegemony, reworking existing political theory to better explain the complex dynamics of our contemporary world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available