SubjectsSubjects(version: 861)
Course, academic year 2019/2020
  
Sociology of Critique - JSM477
Title: Sociology of Critique
Czech title: Sociologie kritiky
Guaranteed by: Department of Sociology (23-KS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2019
Semester: winter
Points: 8
E-Credits: 8
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:2/0 Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unlimited / unknown (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
Guarantor: Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D.
Teacher(s): Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D.
Annotation
Last update: doc. Mgr. Martin Hájek, Ph.D. (28.11.2019)
The course introduces students to French pragmatism or the sociology of critique, distinguishing the sociology of critique from critical theory and critical sociology, and exploring main concepts such as justification, different orders of worth, conventions, tests (of truth, reality, and existentiality), commonality, and reality and the world. The sociology of critique will be situated in the context of sociology and social theory as well as more specifically linked to economic, cultural, political, and legal sociology.
Literature
Last update: doc. Mgr. Martin Hájek, Ph.D. (03.12.2019)

Reading:

Obligatory:

Boltanski, Luc (2011 [2009]) On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation, trans. Gregory Elliott, Cambridge: Polity.

Boltanski, Luc and Laurent Thévenot (2006 [1991]) On Justification: Economies of Worth, trans. Catherine Porter, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Suggested:

Basaure, Mauro (2011) An Interview with Luc Boltanski: Criticism and the Expansion of Knowledge, European Journal of Social Theory 14(3): 361–381.

Bessy, Christian & Francis Chateauraynaud (2015) Being attentive to things: Pragmatic approaches to authenticity. Postscript to the second edition of Experts et Faussures: pour une sociologie de la perception. Paris: Pétra. Available from: https://www.academia.edu/19346690/Being_attentive_to_things_Pragmatic_approaches_to_authenticity_CB_and_FC_2015_

Blokker, Paul (2011) ‘Pragmatic Sociology: Theoretical Evolvement and Empirical Application’, European Journal of Social Theory 14(3): 251–261.

Blokker, Paul and Andrea Brighenti (2011) An interview with Laurent Thévenot: On engagement, critique, commonality, and power, European Journal of Social Theory 14(3): 383-400. 

Boltanski L (1984) La dénonciation. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 51: 3–46.

Boltanski L (1990) L'amour et la justice comme compétences. Trois essais de sociologie de l'action. Paris: Métailie.

Boltanski, Luc (1993) La souffrance à distance, Paris: Métailié.

Boltanski, Luc (1999 [1993]) Distant Suffering: Morality, Media and Politics, trans. Graham Burchell, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Boltanski, Luc (2004) La condition foetale : Une sociologie de l’engendrement et de l’avortement, Paris: Gallimard.

Boltanski, Luc (2009) De la critique : Précis de sociologie de l’émancipation, Paris: Gallimard.

Boltanski, Luc (2012) Énigmes et complots : Une enquête à propos d’enquêtes, Paris: Gallimard.

Boltanski, Luc (2013 [2004]) The Foetal Condition: A Sociology of Engendering and Abortion, trans. Catherine Porter, Cambridge: Polity.

Boltanski, Luc (2014 [2012]) Mysteries and Conspiracies: Detective Stories, Spy Novels and the Making of Modern Societies, trans. Catherine Porter, Cambridge: Polity.

Boltanski, Luc and Ève Chiapello (1999) Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Paris: Gallimard.

Boltanski, Luc and Ève Chiapello (2005 [1999]) The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Gregory Elliott, London: Verso.

Boltanski, Luc and Axel Honneth (2009) ‘Soziologie der Kritik oder Kritische Theorie? EinGespräch mit Robin Celikates’, in Rahel Jaeggi and Tilo Wesche (eds.) Was ist Kritik?,Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, pp. 81–114.

Boltanski, Luc and Laurent Thévenot (1991) De la justification : Les économies de la grandeur, Paris: Gallimard.

Boltanski, Luc and Laurent Thévenot (1999) ‘The Sociology of Critical Capacity’, European Journal of Social Theory 2(3): 359–377.

Callinicos, Alex (2006) The Resources of Critique, Cambridge: Polity.

Celikates, Robin (2009) Kritik als soziale Praxis. Gesellschaftliche Selbstverständigung und kritische Theorie, Frankfurt am Main: Campus.

Honneth, Axel (2010) ‘Dissolutions of the Social: On the Social Theory of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’, Constellations 17(3): 376–389.

Jagd, Søren (2011) ‘Pragmatic Sociology and Competing Orders of Worth in Organizations’, European Journal of Social Theory 14(3): 343–359.

Silber, Ilana F. (2011) ‘Emotions as Regime of Justification? The Case of Civic Anger’, European Journal of Social Theory 14(3): 301–320.

Thévenot, Laurent (1990) ‘L’action qui convient’, in Patrick Pharo and Louis Quéré (eds.) Les formes de l’action, Paris: Éditions de l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, pp. 39–69.

Thévenot, Laurent (2006) L’action au pluriel : Sociologie des régimes d’engagement, Paris: La Découverte.

Requirements to the exam
Last update: Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D. (24.10.2019)

Students will be evaluated:
a/ through short written tests in class to assess knowledge and understanding of the set readings (5 x 10 points - your best 5 scores will count)
and b/ a written assignment at the end of the course (50 points)

Grading system
91 - 100 points: A - excellent (outstanding performance with only minor mistakes)
81 -  90 points: B - very good (above average performance with some mistakes)
71 - 80 points: C - good (overall good performance with a number of notable mistakes)
61 - 70 points: D - satisfactory (acceptable performance with significant mistakes)
51 - 60 points: E - sufficient (performance fulfils only minimum criteria)
less than 51 points: F - insufficient/failed (more effort needs to be made)

Syllabus
Last update: doc. Mgr. Martin Hájek, Ph.D. (03.12.2019)

 

Syllabus

Each of the six sessions will have three parts:

- a short lecture introducing key concepts in the pragmatic sociology of critique;

- a case study taken from an actual research project using the concepts introduced in the lecture (not in session 1);

- a relevant reading from Boltanski & Thévenot’s On Justification or Boltanski’s On Critique.

 

In part 3 of each class we will work as a reading group, so it is vital that students come to class prepared to give a critical appraisal of the chapters set for discussion. In sessions 1 and 2 I will lead the reading group. For sessions 3-6 reading group leaders will be chosen a month in advance (at the end of sessions 2 and 4). 

 

Session plans

1. Introduction: From critical sociology to a sociology of critique

- The exigence of justification and the value of studying disputes and crises

- Institutions and institutionalisation

- The dynamics of critique in the tension between ‘is’ and ‘should be’ (Boltanski) or ‘confidence in’ and ‘could be’ (Thévenot)

 

Reading: On Critique, chapter 3: The Power of Institutions.

 

2. Confirmation and critique: the concept of test (épreuve)

- Truth and reality tests: why is it difficult to extend truth tests to reality tests in evaluative research?

Smith, S., Ward, V. & Kabele, J. (2014) Critically evaluating collaborative research: Why is it difficult to extend truth tests to reality tests? Social Science Information 53(3): 374-402.

 

Reading: On Critique, chapter 4: The Necessity of Critique.

 

3. Judgement, qualification and evaluation as routine practices

- Frontline professional knowledge work: the classificatory and inferential judgements of online discussion administrators

Smith, S. (2017) Discussing the News: The Uneasy Alliance between Participatory Journalists and the Critical Public. London: Palgrave. Chapter 4.

 

Reading: will be announced at the end of session 2

 

4. Perception and intuition

- Collective practices of vigilance: activating the social web's affordances as a facilitator of critical testing and proving

Smith, S. (2017) Discussing the News: The Uneasy Alliance between Participatory Journalists and the Critical Public. London: Palgrave. Chapter 6.

 

Reading: will be announced at the end of session 2

 

5. Orders of worth as specifications of the common good

- Judgements of competence and the competence to judge: medical, legal and journalistic constructions of mental illness

 

Reading: will be announced at the end of session 4

 

6. Existential tests and familiar regimes of engagement: the role of emotion and passion in critique and the access of personal attachments to public criticism

You call yourself the caring professions? Conflicts and compromises between points of view in the Alder Hey scandal

 

Reading: will be announced at the end of session 4

 

 

Prerequisites

Some knowledge of critical sociology is recommendable.

 

 
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