Quotation Haderer, Margarete. 2021. Does emancipation devour its children? Beyond a stalled dialectic of emancipation. European Journal of Social Theory.




Emancipation serves not only as a midwife for progressive agendas such as greater equality and sustainability but also as their gravedigger. This diagnosis underpins Ingolfur Blühdorn’s ‘dialectic of emancipation’, which depicts a dilemma but offers no perspective on how to deal with it. By drawing on Foucault, this article suggests conceiving of emancipation as a task moderns are confronted with even if a given emancipatory project has come to devour its children. Claiming autonomy from given social constellations is key to this task; key also is judging between legitimate and illegitimate claims to autonomy. In late modernity, the criteria for such judgement are no longer universally given. Instead of regarding the latter as entry into mere subjectivism (Blühdorn), this article presents judgement as a key political, ‘world building’-activity (Arendt), a critical social theory may join in, by not only observing the world but by also taking sides in it.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal European Journal of Social Theory
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title Does emancipation devour its children? Beyond a stalled dialectic of emancipation
Year 2021
Reviewed? Y
URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/13684310211028382
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/13684310211028382
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epub/10.1177/13684310211028382


Haderer, Margarete (Former researcher)
Institute for Social Change and Sustainability IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5108 Political theory (Details)
5118 Political science (Details)
5411 Social philosophy (Details)
5425 Environmental sociology (Details)
5611 Urban and regional analysis (Details)
6518 Social history (Details)
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