The ‘secular’ Subject of Critical International Relations Theory
In its originary promise, Critical International Relations Theory (CIRT) is emancipatory. This is not a romantic ideal, but the theory’s defi ning theoretical and practical manifesto. The deepening structures of rationalization have powerful resources to diminish agentic coherence and moral capacity. Ideology effectively draws a wedge between appearance and essence. Structures of representation can disguise the sources of injustice and inequality. An administered society erases the political subject. The atomistic quest for self-fulfi lment can displace the desire for moral community. Technique dislodges human interests. However, these challenges do not spell ultimate closure or doom, a sentiment widely entertained by the original protagonists of Critical Theory (CT) during the dark times of fascism and genocidal war. For CIRT scholars, particularly those discussed in this retrospective volume, human energies for moral advance cannot be eradicated, nor can emancipation be abandoned in the face of old or new challenges; emancipation is a sine qua non for renewal and transformation. It is also CIRT’s raison d’être.