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Critique as justification – and beyond

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>The Sociological Review
Issue number4
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)922-939
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date1/11/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The article discusses the predicament of contemporary critique by focusing on a theoretical case, the ‘sociology of critique’ as it is formulated by Boltanski and Thévenot (2006) and developed by Boltanski and Chiapello (2007). This sociology is critical of critical theory and endeavours to supplement critical theory with a ‘theory of critique’, with a pragmatic analysis of the normative values that inspire intentional action. In order to be critical, it insists, one must first understand what critique is. However, the sociology of critique delimits critique to justification on the basis of (only) existing values and indexes all critique to the governmental idea of reform. The article elaborates on this by juxtaposing radical critique and pragmatic critique in the light of recent debate.