The sound and the fury
DOI link for The sound and the fury
The sound and the fury book
Increasingly, academic work problematises critique rather than endorsing it, although attempts to revitalise critical theory are perennial. This chapter gives a brief overview of ambivalence about critique from Mannheim through Adorno to Žižek, then turns to Boltanski’s Sociology of Critique, Felski’s post-critical reading and other thinkers who problematise critique, including Latour, Sloterdijk and Baehr. Thereafter, Foucault’s archaeological approach is used to discuss critique as a discourse: Critique generates ‘truth’ by describing society and culture by transforming the claims of other discourses into ‘ideology’ or one of its many theoretical correlates. The claims of critique are paradoxically verified as knowledge by the manner that they contest the ‘truth-claims’ of other discourses. Thus, the power of critique is to discursively generate distinctions between ‘appearance’ and ‘reality’ and so forth, which thereby animates political debate and forms subjects. In particular, critique opens up a ‘void’ in language, where others words or concepts misrepresent reality, but simultaneously creates a series of terms which re-describe reality – domination, hegemony and so forth. Yet, this Foucauldian analysis of ‘Critique’ is unmistakably itself a form of critique, demonstrating the limits of the critique of critique.