Politics of the Event after Hegel

Nathan Coombs

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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It is often assumed that the concept of the event provides an alternative way of thinking about processes of political transformation compared to Hegelian and Marxist notions of linear, progressive historical development. Politics of the Event after Hegel argues that the distinction is in fact much more subtle; showing how a concept of the event has been tacitly included in this philosophical tradition from its very inception. Tying together a lineage of Hegel, Marx and Lenin, and the contemporary French theory of Althusser, Badiou and Meillassoux, the investigation shows that they share the same desire to conceptualise novelty bearing events which limit foresight about processes of historical development. At the same time, all six chapters show these thinkers struggling to maximise the novelty-bearing capacity of events whilst simultaneously warding against the appearance of authoritative knowledge. Exploring the tension between authority and novelty in their ideas of the event, the thesis concludes that these are essential categories for any future conceptualisations of social, political and economic change within a ruptural paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Widder, Nathan, Supervisor
Award date1 Aug 2013
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


  • event
  • politics
  • hegel
  • marx
  • political theory
  • political philosophy
  • transformation
  • badiou
  • althusser
  • meillassoux
  • lenin
  • philosophy of history

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