Critical theory in crisis? A reconsideration

Jahn, Beate (2021) Critical theory in crisis? A reconsideration. European Journal of International Relations. pp. 1-26. ISSN 1354-0661

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The recent rise of populism has generated a resurgence of interest in critical theory, in the wider public debate and in academia—with critical theory being variously accused of paving the way for post-truth politics, hailed as explaining the rise of populism, or criticized for failing to achieve its emancipatory political goals. Failure of the latter kind, many International Relations scholars argue, calls for a fundamental reform of critical theory if it is to address current political developments. Investigating this claim, this article makes three contributions: First, an empirical account shows that, far from failing, critical theory has been politically highly successful. Second, a theoretical reconstruction of critical theory shows that it is precisely this success that leads to the alienation of critical theorists from their own approach. In light of this analysis, third, the article concludes that the task of critical theory in times of Brexit and Trump does not lie in abandoning its core principles but in systematically applying them to a new historical conjuncture.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 07:57
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2021 12:45

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