Critique as consumerism 

This insight from Richard Wilkinson’s forward to Andrew Sayer’s Why We Can’t Afford the Rich reminds me of some of the (many) arguments from Jana Bacevic’s superb PhD thesis on the sociology of critique. From loc 164 of Andrew Sayer’s book:

But too often reading books or articles on the threats the world faces becomes little more than a form of consumerism. We read them to feel well informed – hopefully better informed than others. And it is easy to feel that the more threatening the problem under discussion, the more exhilarating it is as the plot of a ‘whodunnit’. Being well informed adds to our cultural capital and gives us more to say, but let us make sure this book also makes us part of the solution.

I can’t do justice to the sophistication of her thesis but it’s a fascinating account of the relationship between critique and action, developed through an analysis of the epistemological predicament involved in critiquing social circumstances which we are ourselves entangled in.

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