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What is Critical Practice?

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Chapter Summary

Cultural criticism is conventionally partitioned according to a critique of social practices and a critique of literature and the other arts. This chapter discusses three modes of critical occupation (critique in the social sciences, in the humanities, and meta-critique) by focusing on the work of three authors. The French sociologist that, Luc Boltanski discusses in his writings and the forms of sociological practice that Boltanski favors, occupy conceptual space with ethno-methodology, inclining toward dramaturgy. Boltanski's use of literature as window to social issues is common for cultural criticism in the humanities. Niccoló Machiavelli's Prince focuses on strategic issues of politics and stresses pragmatic solutions for immediate problems of stability for leadership. The chapter provides insight into the strategic methods of critical practice in the spirit of encouragement for those who suppose the possibility of a different future for the West and are willing to work toward that.

Keywords: critical practice; cultural criticism; ethno-methodology; Luc Boltanski; Niccoló Machiavelli



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