Contemporary societies face a multiplicity of domestic and international crises, regarding e.g. climate and democratic representation. These crises have led to renewed interest in critique across different traditions of inquiry. However, political theorists have thus far failed to grapple sufficiently with these current crises. This failure points to the need to develop critical methods tailored to these particular circumstances. The goal of this Joint Sessions workshop is to develop critical methods suited to address the current crises by taking the exchange between analytical political theorists and critical theorists and their respective methods of critique to a new level.
For political theorists to develop methods capable of grappling with current crises we need to overcome the lack of cross-fertilization between analytical and critical traditions of political theory. We are confident in overcoming this division because theorists from both traditions not only address similar problems – such as climate crisis and democratic erosion – but also develop methods with similar goals.
On the one hand, analytical political theorists have recently advanced discussion of a variety of methodological questions and tools, with a renewed focus on real world problems and practices, for example in the debates about ideal and non-ideal theory (Simmons, Valentini, Mills), practice-(in)dependence (Sangiovanni, James), political moralism and political realism (Estlund, Rossi and Sleat), as well as normative behaviourism (Floyd). On the other hand, critical theorists have meanwhile refined their methodological tools, focusing on re-interpreting ideology critique (Haslanger, Celikates), immanent critique (Stahl, Jaeggi), rational reconstruction (Habermas, Patberg), or genealogy (Saar, Allen). However, these commonalities have not been legible enough for both traditions to lead to cross-fertilization.
To overcome this division, our workshop provides a clear structure for bringing exponents of both traditions together to address the questions of how to understand methods of critique, and what specific methods to employ in conducting critique in times of crisis. Our workshop will thus substantiate the application of the recent methodological turn in political theory and, judging from the expressions of interest received, expand the range of political theorizing covered by ECPR and further integrate political theory communities across Europe.
1: How do current methods of critique fail to address domestic and global crises?
2: Which methods of critique are especially apt in times of crisis?
3: Do we need different methods for different crises, e.g. with regard to climate and democratic representation?
4: How do we connect analytical and critical theory to craft methods capable of addressing the current crises?
5: Can such connections maintain the distinctive qualities of both traditions of political theory?
1: A specific critical method and its potential and limitations in the empirical context of a current crisis
2: The nature of critical methods in view of the requirements for methods of political theorizing in times of crisis
3: The application of methods from the analytical and critical traditions to the multiplicity of current crises
4: Whether different (types of) crisis require different, tailored methods of critique
5: The challenges involved in combining methods from analytical and critical traditions in political theory
6: Requirements for developing critical methods in political theory relevant to empirical social science
7: The challenges involved in crafting critical methods at the international and/or global level