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[The political theorist Bonnie Honig talks to IPPR’s Juncture about the roots of her thinking, the radical and positive potential of political contestation and the importance of ‘public things’ in a vibrant democracy.] Nick Pearce: What’s noticeable about your work is that you have an engagement with continental theory which isn’t typical of Anglo-Saxon political philosophy. Where does that come from? Bonnie Honig: In the mid to late ‘80s I was in graduate school at John Hopkins University, where French theory was quite central to the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. Reading in that literature you take on board some of its conceptual apparatus, even if you are establishing your own relationship with it. So certain terms, like interpellation and discipline and normalisation, entered into my own vocabulary. The words stood for ideas I needed to draw on. If I blend analytic and continental archives, it was because I was driven to do so by my work on Hannah Arendt.

Shortly after my post on Romania’s paradox of plenty, the recently appointed Romanian Prime Minister came out with another mind-boggling announcement: the government had secretly sold Cupru Min, Romania’s largest copper mine, possessing over 60 percent of the country’s copper resources, to Roman Copper Corp., a Canadian Company, for a mere $200m (US). Quite pleased with the deal, the Prime Minister emphasised that the copper mine had been a black hole for the government, which it finally managed to sell for four times its value. These are misleading overstatements. While the precise value of Cupru Min is unclear, its worth is estimated to be between $6b and $14b (US), whilst the agreed profit sharing deal with Roman Copper only gives …