The emergence of so-called post-truth politics has seen popular calls to return to the “facts,” accompanied by frequent attacks on gender studies, postcolonial theory, and science and technology studies, all of which have been portrayed as somehow responsible for destabilizing truth. This article intervenes in debates arising in response to these developments, with a focus on a promising “third path” proposed by Bruno Latour. In a proposal framed as a departure from his previous work, Latour argues for the importance of centralizing climate change as a common concern that can orient knowledge production and political action. This stance has gained purchase in both academic and wider popular commentaries. The article argues, however, that Latour’s stance does not mark a break from his previous arguments but is instead a continuation of his long-standing condemnation of critique. Building on work within feminist science studies, the article elucidates how, in the contemporary context, this renewed “critique of critique” marginalizes precisely the perspectives that are most under attack in the current political moment. The article ultimately argues that although Latour’s examination of the relationship between populism and environmental politics is critically important, space needs to be maintained for divergent voices that are currently in danger of being excluded in calls to reclaim “common worlds.”
Post-truths, Common Worlds, and Critical Politics: Critiquing Bruno Latour’s Renewed Critique of Critique
Sarah-Nicole Aghassi-Isfahani is a PhD research student in sociology at Keele University. Her research focuses on the automation of war, exploring how drones transform the battle space and examining the impacts of technological abstraction.
Eva Haifa Giraud, Sarah-Nicole Aghassi-Isfahani; Post-truths, Common Worlds, and Critical Politics: Critiquing Bruno Latour’s Renewed Critique of Critique. Cultural Politics 1 March 2020; 16 (1): 1–13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-8017200
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