Post-foundationalism, Systems Theory and the Impossibility of Critique

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Should we drop critique just because of its impossibility? This chapter tries to find a way to eat the cake and have it too, insisting in the meaningfulness of having a critical practice taking as point of departure the impossibility of critique. First, we discuss the classical concept of critique and how it ran into problems as demonstrated in many post-foundational theories. Then, we present the work of Luhmann’s epistemology and its particular problematization of the lack of any stable foundation for critique. Finally, the chapter elaborates on how to respond to the challenges of a foundational critique without abandoning the ambition of committing to a critical sociology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscourse, Culture and Organization : Inquiries into Relational Structures of Power
EditorsTomas Marttila
Number of pages24
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9783319941226
ISBN (Electronic)9783319941233
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesPostdisciplinary Studies in Discourse


  • Post-foundationalism
  • Systems theory
  • Luhmann
  • Critique
  • Critical sociology

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