Centre for Advanced International Theory (CAIT)

Past events

Critique in Times of Post-Truth

Friday 30 November 13:00 until 15:00
Arts C133
Speaker: Sebastian Schindler, CAIT Visiting Research Fellow (Frankfurt University)
Part of the series: CAIT Autumn Term Programme 2018


Sebastian is a research associate in the working group ‘International Organisations’ at the Frankfurt Cluster of Excellence ‘Normative Orders’. His research is located at the intersection between IR Theories, international organisations, and international political theory. His essay “Man versus State: Contested Agency in the United Nations” was awarded Millennium’s Northedge Prize in 2014. Since 2016, he serves as speaker of the Young Researchers’ Group in the IR section of the German Political Science Association.


"There is some confusion regarding the implications of recent political developments for the critical study of ideology, knowledge, and power. While critical research prides itself on its ability to question naturalized, taken-for-granted beliefs, its critique seems to have become a commonplace. Even worse, it seems that populist and nationalist politicians – Donald Trump and the like – feel quite comfortable with the basic premises of critique, and use it for their own purposes. It is the ideologues themselves who claim that there is an alternative to every fact and who criticize knowledge as constructed through power – in their view, the power of the ‘mainstream’ media that impose a false, manipulative perspective on the world. Against this background, what is the task of critical inquiry today? I will argue that we require critical study not only of naturalization, but also of its opposite: the belief that all knowledge is merely historical and contingent. This (dis)belief can itself become naturalized and reified. It then constitutes an uncritical dogma, a reified cynicism, and we need to study the forms of this peculiar, relativizing ideological belief and understand the conditions under which it emerges."

Critique in Times of Post-Truth

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By: Martin Wingfield
Last updated: Friday, 30 November 2018

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