Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN29_08: Reason, Recognition and Ideology Critique
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Mikael Carleheden, University of Copenhagen
Location: GM.325
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Modernity And The Critique Of Ideology

Angelos Mouzakitis

Univeristy of Crete, Greece, Greece

Since the inception of modernity the notion ideology was employed as a means of critique against pre-modern forms of life and their symbolic systems and conceptual frameworks, while serving also as a vehicle of self-reflection as it was directed against modern political Weltanschaaungen and modern philosophical and scientific accounts of the world. The critique of ideology was pivotal to Marx’s assault on capitalism, while it also informed Marxist attempts at the unmasking of the role of capitalist elites in the shaping of modern social and political life. Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge provided the social sciences with a more complex account of ideology and utopia, while a number of significant developments in philosophy, epistemology and the social sciences themselves rendered the very notion of ideology problematic: Hence, the emphasis placed on ‘language games’ by thinkers that followed the late Wittgenstein (e.g. Winch and in a more radical manner Lyotard) brought to the fore the problem of incommensurability and showed the difficulty of establishing a metalanguage or a set of principles on the basis of which a form of discourse could be unanimously and irrefutably characterized as ideological. Similar was the effect of Foucault’s introduction of the notion of “discursive formations” and of various Feminist critiques of “masculine” reason. Having Ricoeur’s lectures on ideology and utopia as its starting point, and employing therefore a phenomenological-hermeneutic perspective, this paper wishes to thematize the importance that the critique of ideology holds in late modernity and the forms it might legitimately take in view both of the ongoing debates in philosophy and the social sciences and the multiple ways in which the modern project has been historically expressed.

Sociology, Reason, and the Critique of Eurocentrism

Patrick Joseph O'Mahony

University College Cork, Ireland

The proposed paper takes cues from yet radicalizes Axel Honneth’s essay on the social pathology of reason (2004). According to Honneth, critical theory, in line with its long legacy, requires orientation from the positive idea of a rational societal universal, but also requires a macro-sociological approach to negatively explain those obstacles which prevent it forming. In so thinking, Honneth is aware of the contemporary challenges to a comprehensive idea of a rational society, always directly or indirectly intrinsic to critical theory, arising from the various critiques of perspectival hegemony, neglect of the subject, and indifference to power assumed to lurk within the theory of reason The basic tenets of Honneth’s position will be briefly outlined at the outset of the paper. Its main body will be to propose in very broad outline the nature of the sociological approach – realist, cognitive-semtiotic, normative, immanent-transcendent, mediated, multi-perspectival, dissensual, and consensual – required to advance a contemporary theory of what such a rational universal might consist, arguing that the sociological contribution must be 'positive', oriented to the possibility of a reasonable society, and not just 'negative', concerned with obstacles to ideas of a rational society diagnosed by philosophy. Building on these insights, it will move on, in conclusion and in line with the theme,, to address the critique of reason as Eurocentric, attempting to show that even while admitting the importance of this critique a trans-contextual and cosmopolitan idea of democratic, cosmopolitan and communicative reason must be retained.

(In)visibilization: a Critical Theory

Benno Herzog

University of Valencia, Spain

Excluded or marginalized social groups often face problems of representation in the public sphere. The very notion of exclusion usually refers to communicative or discursive produced mechanisms of not being considered relevant for (public) processes of interaction. These mechanisms could therefore be understood as processes of invisibilization of important social groups. Thus, it is no wonder that invisibilization seemed to be the new buzz word in critical social, political but also artistic works. However, in the diversity of applied of the concept it is seldom clear what exactly is meant when the term invisibilization is used.

The aim of the presentation is to offer a critical and comprehensive conceptualization of invisibilization.

Therefore, I will first present classical critical theories of the public space (e.g. Habermas, Honneth) that understand invisibilization as a social pathology. Where the social is thought as a space of interaction, invisibilization must be perceived as a threat to basic human equality and inclusion. In a second step I will turn towards critical theories of invisibilization (e.g. Papadopoulos et al.) who see in individual and collective acts of imperceptibility the possibility to escape regimes of visibility and control. When visibility leads to oppression through categorization, then invisibility might be a step towards desubjugation (Foucault). Finally, I will explain the inherent dialectics of visibility and invisibility and show that there is never an act of visibilization without invisibilization. When we want to do critical research on (in)visibilization we therefore have to turn away from mere states of (in)visibility asking questions about power to control processes of (in)visibilization.

The Guiding Role of Scientifically Grounded Ideology for Social Conflict Resolution (in the Context of Catalan Crisis)

Natalia Yurievna Matveeva

Russian Transport University (MIIT), Russian Federation

Ideology is the leading force of social development. Ideological conflict leads to social and political confrontation. The ideologies of the parties may be based on various sources, but always manifest themselves in the social meanings of people.

Catalan crisis has bright ideological expression of two opposite ideological narratives: the narrative of integrity and indissolubility of the Spanish nation and the narrative of the Catalan separate identity with its own original culture and historical peculiarities. These narratives as they expressed themselves now seem to be mutually exclusive. Their unfolding in the social practice is in stalemate. Moreover, no one of the sides has got any serious gains during the conflict. At the same time, the negative effect for both sides is obvious. The ideological ignoring of the opponent’s social identity leads to the traumatization of the communities because they have felt their core values under the threat.

The roots of the conflict as well as the ways for its resolution are ideological. Both sides have no deeply argued ideas founded on the scientific researches. Politicians of both sides are forced to find decisions under the pressure of circumstances and often these decisions are not the best ones. The sides try to stay on their positions and find the meanings for them in the processes of spontaneous communications.

Ideological way for the conflict resolution is the way that has to rise above the fray analyzing of both sides’ ideas, values and meanings from the neutral positions but streaming to the positive decision. Such scientific ideology should find out the social meanings that will lead to the conflict resolution through higher level of social development of the nations.