The Political Economy of (Im)Possibility

Glyn Daly

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The very term ‘political economy’ is something that already names an ambiguous, even impossible, relationship. Derived from the Greek oikonomia (i.e. matters of household management and regulation), economy is something that designates a certain domestication; the keeping of good order. The political, on the other hand, is always that which upsets/challenges the order of ‘the household’ in the broadest sense of the term. The political not only bears witness to the impossibility of any ultimate Household it is also – and as a consequence - that which liberates the very possibility for developing new forms of social organization, identity and belonging. This is the paradox to which Lefort refers (1986): the political establishes the authenticity of every institution only to the extent that it shows the essential historicity and contingency of their inauguration. Every institution depends for its being on a political process of institutivity which it cannot incorporate or domesticate within it. Every household depends upon a certain impossible excess that is always ‘promised’ to something beyond what currently exists; to something Other.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Political Economy and Poststructural Politics
EditorsMarieke De Goede
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-230-80089-2
ISBN (Print)978–1–4039–4932–5, 978-1-349-52558-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


  • International Political Economy
  • Autopoiesis
  • Luhmann
  • Politics
  • Capitalism
  • Class struggle


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