Kritik og emancipation: En diskussion af kritisk-politisk handling i moderne samfund

Freja Lynge

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This project discusses two topical suggestions on how to exercise criticism in present Western society, from the perspective that the critical capacity remains necessary, in spite of wealth, because there still remains domination. The French philosopher Jacques Rancière explores the criticism one can formulate, on the basis of the assumption of "equality among people". The concept of equality is not defined in terms of content but is a "logic" that operates opposite to the "police logic" that structures society. The confrontation between the two logics results in critical-political action, whereas all attempts to incorporate the logic of equality, to operate within the structures of society, is a settlement of politics. The French sociologist Luc Boltanski reformulates the critical-theoretical project to create a balance between focusing on structures that are associated with dominance, and focusing on the actors with opportunities to act critically. He builds a bridge between these two extremes through the conceptualization of the "hermeneutic contradiction". This concept reveals the relationship between individuals and institutions as a relation of interdependence where the institutions are giving the condition for acting, while the critical actions are needed for the institutions to have social relevance, whereas critical possibilities are immanent in the structures of current societies. The project discusses their approaches in conjunction with the emancipatory horizon that each are oriented to. Neither of them wants to abandon the idea of emancipation as a target for criticism, but emancipation in Boltanski's view, can be established as a special kind of relationship between individuals and institutions, while emancipation in Rancières view is always antagonistic to any form of institutionalization. The project concludes with a discussion about the implications of both approaches, including what one can actually manage to change, and thus what emancipation actually consists in.

UddannelserSocialvidenskab, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato29 maj 2012
VejledereTorben Bech Dyrberg


  • equality
  • Jacques Rancière