The standard, linear view of history is founded on the belief that political outcomes are predetermined by what has gone before. This book challenges this view, arguing for what the author calls an untimely politics which renders the past problematic and the future unpredictable. The argument is advanced through a close reading of key texts in political theory and by entering into debates involving metaphysics, philosophy of language, and psychoanalysis versus discursive analysis. The ideas are based on the theme of the relevance of language analysis to political debate, answering those critics who insist discourse approaches to politics are irrelevant. Heidegger, Nietzsche, Foucault and Derrida are used to challenge the political burden which is placed on language analysis to prove its value in the real world.
Samuel A. Chambers is a lecturer in Politics at Johns Hopkins University.