Politics between justification and defiance

with Paul Blokker

European Journal of Social Theory August 2011 vol. 14 no. 3 283-300



The article discusses the status and role of politics — in its various facets — in the pragmatic sociology of critique. We focus on a number of different dimensions of politics — politics-as-justification, politics-as-distribution, politics-as-constitution, and politics-as-defiance — that can said to be of importance for a pragmatic sociology of critique, but that have not all been taken up equally in this approach. We situate pragmatic sociology in a tradition of thought that views politics as emerging in the settlement of disputes over differences without resorting to violence. However, we argue that pragmatic sociology tends to ignore questions of the constitution of politics, and suggest that one way of bringing the foundational aspect upfront is by conceptualizing and studying defiance, including forms of explicit (dissent) and implicit critique (resistance) of the existing order.