Ideology Critique without Morality: A Radical Realist Approach

What is the point of ideology critique? Prominent Anglo-American philosophers recently proposed novel arguments for the view that ideology critique is moral critique, and ideologies are flawed insofar as they contribute to injustice or oppression. We criticize that view and make the case for an alternative and more empirically oriented approach, grounded in epistemic rather than moral commitments. We make two related claims: (a) ideology critique can debunk beliefs and practices by uncovering how, empirically, they are produced by self-justifying power and (b) the self-justification of power should be understood as an epistemic rather than moral flaw. Drawing on the recent realist revival in political theory, we argue that this genealogical approach has more radical potential, despite being more parsimonious than morality-based approaches. We demonstrate the relative advantages of our view by discussing the results of empirical studies on the contemporary phenomenon of neopatriarchy in the Middle East and North Africa.

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License CC BY
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 120 - Theory