Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-w45k2 Total loading time: 0.427 Render date: 2023-02-01T05:53:42.082Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

13 - ‘The Political’ in the ‘Pragmatic Sociology of Critique’: Reading Boltanski with Lefort and Castoriadis

from Part VI - Luc Boltanski and Political Sociology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2014

Paul Blokker
Affiliation:
University of Trento
Get access

Summary

Whilst a political dimension was perhaps not at the forefront of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot's ‘sociology of critical capacity’, as most prominently articulated in On Justification (2006 [1991]), it can be argued that their work engages with important questions regarding ‘the political’ and politics. In this chapter, I shall make the political dimension in French pragmatic sociology more explicit and shall explore a tendency to ‘politicization’ of pragmatic sociology in some more recent works of Luc Boltanski. This is done with an eye to what I see as a normative dimension in pragmatic sociology that links it with (radical) democratic theory. It seems fruitful to expose this normative dimension by reading Boltanski's On Critique (2011 [2009]) together with the work of radical democratic thinkers, in particular those of Claude Lefort and Cornelius Castoriadis. Lefort and Castoriadis have both – even if in different ways – contributed significantly to a deeper understanding of politics through a notion of ‘the political’. Thus, I seek to bring out dimensions which are shared in the works of Boltanski, Lefort, and Castoriadis and which, furthermore, concern the relation between ‘the world’ and ‘reality’, reflections on the political form of society, and issues of uncertainty and indeterminacy.

In this chapter, I shall first discuss the notion of ‘the political’, including the question of how it relates to pragmatic sociology, and subsequently engage in a close reading of Boltanski's On Critique with the help of insights from Lefort and Castoriadis. In the concluding section, I shall briefly explore how the three authors deal with what seems to be an age in which politics is in significant decline.

‘The Political’

Boltanski and Thévenot's ‘sociology of critical capacity’ understands social realities to be grounded in a plurality of possible ways of engaging with the world and of justifying individual actions. Such a pluralistic approach is contrasted to what could be called the monism, or at most dualism, of much normative political theory in defining the just – for instance, emphasizing social justice and recognition.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Spirit of Luc Boltanski
Essays on the 'Pragmatic Sociology of Critique'
, pp. 369 - 390
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×