My dissertation In Praise of Partisanship: A Speculative Theorization of Political Reason draws from the theoretical production of Hegel, Marx, Theodor Adorno, and Gillian Rose to contend that the notion of the speculative is optimal to rethink the actuality of partisanship, a phenomenon that has been harshly criticized in the history of political thought, and neglected in the current universe of political theory. This is a paradox given that our regimes are constituted around political parties. Parties have been essential as mediators, as thirds between civil society and the State, as well as the key agents of political change and revolutions in the modern era.
I question and redefine existing views on partisanship arguing that mainstream liberal and critical post-structural theories of politics misrecognize partisan operations and formations resulting in post-political rhetoric and prescriptions. I reason that such misrecognition is not only contingent upon political conjunctures, especially those after 1968 and 1989, but also that liberal and post-structural critiques of partisanship depend on specific ontological presuppositions over identity and difference. Liberalism advances an outlook of absolute identity by educating or coercing the multiplicity and complexity of politics into a universal narrative of global norms and rules. Views on radical difference, that are distinctive of post-structuralism, largely prevent thinking such multiplicity in terms of political representation, parties, and party organization.
In opposition to these two forms of political reason, I argue that the speculative envisions an "identity-in-difference" (Hegel), a "unity of the diverse" (Marx), in which the partisan opponent is the other, the adversary, and at the same time, someone that stands in a common symbolic and political universe. Thus, I engage in a philosophical re-conceptualization of theories of political opposition stemming from the dialectical tradition in order to reconstruct a critical theory of parties and partisanship.
Different from the neo-Kantian and Weberian school, I show there is another forgotten tradition in political theory that began with Hegel and some Hegelian philosophers on the Left and Right in the 19th century (Rosenkranz, Bauer, Gans, Ruge, Marx and Engels, also F.J. Stahl, F. Rohmer, von Treitschke) until the mid-20th century (Gramsci, Lenin, Luxemburg, Lukács, Georg Jellinek, Otto Bauer, Kirchheimer) that saw the political party and partisans, not only as isolated professional organizations or agents dangerous to constituted powers, but also as essential elements to the spiritual, cultural, and political life of a modern nation. I call it a critical tradition of political parties and partisans, which accounted for both the objective integration of partisanship into the electoral system (partisanship in sensu stricto), and for partisanship's oppositional dimensions in the broader political, economic, and social arenas. This tradition has a dialectical conception between theory and practice, organization and tactics, party and class that rejects perspectives that see parties as autonomous entities.
Speculative critique constitutes my research program and future projects will extend this mode of theorization to the areas of political economy, political theology, philosophy of law, and political morality.