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The Anthropology of the Name—written almost twenty years ago but never translated into English, and updated here with a new preface by the author—works out a groundbreaking theory of the social function of political categorizations, exploring in the anthropological field what Alain Badiou and Jean-Claude Milner analysed, respectively, in the fields of philosophy, linguistics and psychoanalytic theory.
Sylvain Lazarus calls the site of the book an ‘enthusiastic site’: enthusiastic about the fact that a new conception can be opposed to the end of the political and intellectual referents of the great period that extends from the Russian Revolution to today—a period that the author divides into different sequences. The enthusiasm is also about the invention of the ‘sequentiality’ of politics and of ‘saturation’ (a method of investigating past politics as intellectualities of politics); and it is about the problematic of ‘historical modes of politics’, which identifies the politics that has taken place or that is taking place as rare and sequential, that is to say, as existing for a lapse of time that is datable.
This is an enthusiastic book about the investigation of thought, about the statement that ‘people think’, and about the statement that ‘thought is relation of the real’.
Lazarus?s discussion is divided into two parts: a general methodology and a series of case studies. He fiercely argues that politics is a thought with its own field and categories, distinct from political science, economics, history, or philosophy. Politics, Lazarus drives home, is not a permanent feature of society: it is rare and sequential.
The most radical critique of the very grounds of social science.?Alain Badiou