Critique as historical practice: exploring the politics of emancipation




Browning, Andréa

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In this thesis, I explore how the logic and mobilization of critique as an emancipatory practice, situated within various historical inheritances of the Enlightenment project, enable/delimit ‘Western’ political imaginations. I therefore question how discourses and practices of critique not only reproduce but become functional to that which they seek to transform. That is, through its conventional fault-finding role, how does critique regulate (un)acceptable ways of thinking? By resituating critique as integrally constitutive of our inheritances, rather than an exceptional instrument of correction or virtue, this methodological reorientation has the potential to foster explorations that are grounded within, as opposed to transcendentally outside, our complex sites of inheritances. In this way, it is an inquiry into the histories and politics of Western projects of emancipation and progress as captured by practices, methods, and subjects of critique within various influential traditions.



political and social thought, limits, immanence, Enlightenment, Kant, Foucault, methodology, governmentality, resistance, emancipation, critique