University of Sussex
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Beyond recognition: a critique of contemporary social pathology diagnosis

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posted on 2023-06-09, 18:33 authored by Neal Harris
This thesis argues that a crucial resource of Critical Theory, the diagnosis of social pathologies, is being rendered impotent through its troubling and unnecessary marriage with a restrictive, recognition-derived approach to social theory. There is a growing literature arguing that contemporary Critical Theory has become philosophically, politically and social-theoretically unsound, increasingly blind to the meritorious insights of earlier generations of Frankfurt School scholars. This thesis argues that exactly such a development can be traced within contemporary social pathology scholarship. As a means of rejuvenating the Critical Theoretical tradition, this project serves to outline the utility of the many framings of social pathology which have been needlessly, and problematically, displaced by the ascendant recognition-based approaches to diagnosing social pathologies. This thesis seeks to champion a ‘polycentric and multilateral’ approach to social pathology scholarship, pointing beyond the myopically recognitive nature of contemporary Critical Theory.


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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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