From Critique and Postcritique by Elizabeth S. Anker and Rita Felksi, pg 21
The diagnostic quality of critique is often unmistakable. Diagnosis, of
course, has its origins in the practice of medicine, even as the term is frequently
applied to other domains (the mechanic examining a defective car, the pundit
weighing in on the state of the economy). In a clinical context, diagnosis refers
to the act of identifying an illness by investigating and interpreting symptoms.
Three aspects of diagnosis seem especially pertinent: the presence of an expert (doctor, scientist, technician) who is engaged in the scrutiny of an object
in order to decode certain defects or flaws that are not readily or automatically apparent to a nonspecialist perspective. A diagnosis is both a speech act
and a stance or orientation: one that is predicated on the revelatory force of
an examining gaze. To diagnose is to look closely and intently, in the belief
that such scrutiny will bring problems to light that can be deciphered by an
authoritative interpreter. The stance is one of judicious and knowledgeable
It is also oriented towards practical reasoning (“what shall we do about this?”) even if the proposed solutions are inflected through the social relations of the diagnostic situation; can diagnosis be unhooked from hierarchical relations and orientated towards a problem solving which is simultaneously practical and analytical?