A melancholy defeatism has become a hallmark of critical thought and leftist politics. A consequence of this has been an exaggerated focus on domination among critical theorists, leaving emancipation—along with questions of political organization and strategy—undertheorized at best, or disregarded as delusional, at worst. If emancipation still plays a role in critical reflection, it is most often in a “domesticated” form, made into a bedfellow of centrist liberalism.
Recent events necessitate a different outlook, especially since the financial collapse of 2008 and the myriad movements—emancipatory as much as reactionary—it has spawned throughout the world. Through a series of dialogues and reflections by leading thinkers, scholars, and activists, Domination and Emancipation: Remaking Critique seeks to rebuild the emancipatory pole of critique and bring forward theoretical work that is in step with the struggles and aspirations of the moment.
Daniel Benson is assistant professor of Foreign Languages and International Cultural Studies at St. Francis College. His writing has appeared in journals including Diacritics, Critical Review of Contemporary French Fixxion, and Left History.
Note on Translations
Part I: Dialogues
1 Domination and Emancipation: For a Revival of Social Critique
Luc Boltanski and Nancy Fraser
2 Domination and Emancipation in the Current Conjuncture
Philippe Corcuff and Gabriel Rockhill
Part II: Emancipatory Subjects
3 Emancipation, Political and Real
4 On a Critical Realist Theory of Identity
Part III: Counter-Histories
5 Critical and Revolutionary Theory: For the Reinvention of Critique in the Age of Ideological Realignment
6 Like a Riot: The Politics of Forgetfulness, Relearning the South, and the Island of Dr. Moreau Françoise Vergès
Part IV: Critical Tensions
7 Emancipation, Domination, and Critical Theory in the Anthropocene
Ajay Singh Chaudhary
8 Renewing Critical Theory in an Ultra-Conservative Context: between the Social Sciences, Political Philosophy, and Emancipatory Engagement
9 Politics in Tensions. Counter-Currents for a Post-Critical Age
Notes on Contributors
A wide-ranging, timely, and provocative set of reflections on the current state of critical theory in the broad sense of that term. Combining theoretical sophistication with deep political engagement, this volume breathes new life into old questions about the shape and direction that the emancipatory critique of domination should take in our present.
Amy Allen, Liberal Arts Professor of Philosophy and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
What will emancipation look like in the 21st century? This book makes an important contribution in exploring this issue, that will be of interest to academics and activists alike. It combines theoretical approaches with the analysis of the most important events of our times: the environmental crisis, the rise of a global far-right “populist” current, or the transformations of social movements in the digital age, among others.