Critical Realism Meets Resonance

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Lisa WALDENBURGER, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
Hannes TEUTOBURG-WEISS, University of Teacher Education Zurich (PHZH), Switzerland
The role of critique in social science is still in a state of suspense. While Critical Theorists created a circulus vitiosus, in which the conditions of critique are the sole focus of attention, thinkers of the postmodernist tradition still confuse demystification with the substantial critique of the state of affairs. A critical CR inspired reading of social reality might bypass this conundrum. In a time, where capitalist globalization expands and deepens and corporate power increases along with global, national and local inequalities, the need for a consistent crtitical approach is urgent. However, another problem persists. While the ability to look critical at social reality – with an emancipatory gaze – can be considered a main pillar of CR, it is debatable if this potential has been realised – in theoretical and practical terms – yet. Staying close to the idea of CR as midwife and underlabourer for broader thinking within the social sciences, one might argue that the critical aspects of CR remain largely underdeveloped – even if there are some notable exceptions (cf Andrew Sayer; Frédéric Vandenberghe).

What we propose – to strengthen substantial criticism originating from within the social sciences – is to bring together two research traditions, which have both a strong emancipative impetus: CR and newer Critical Theory. Hartmut Rosas recent contribution to Critical Theory introduces resonance as a key concept of critical social theory and breaks free from the above mentioned circulus vitiosus. Resonance, the opposite of alienation, describes a certain relation between ourselves and the world / other entities that is characterized by simultaneous co-influence and co-development. While Rosas theoretical account remains in some parts sketchy and cursory, we are convinced that both research traditions could benefit greatly from conversing with each other.