Mittwoch, 24. Oktober 2018, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Critique In/Of Anthropology?

(Subseries of the Wednesday Seminars)

Critique, post-foundationalism and the need to do the right thing

Richard Rottenburg

Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, HS-C
Universitätsstraße 7, 4. Stock, 1010 Wien


Robust critique stands on firm ground, is based on confirmed evidence and boldly claims to see something that others can’t see. Post-foundational critique is sceptical of its own foundation, mainly promoting critical reflexivity and emphasizing that others can probably see something else. The social study of critique asserts that critique is a necessary condition of possibility for institutions, since rule-following presupposes the possibility of disobeying the rule.

Following these three iterations of critique, the question still remains – how we can know what the right thing to do is, and how could we ever agree on it? This is the burning question of translation that is even more compelling when we consider that the number of issues that permit relativist answers is diminishing in our time. This theoretical argument will be presented with the help of empirical examples.

Richard Rottenburg is professor of anthropology at the University in Halle, where he has founded a research network focusing on the anthropology of

"Law, Organization, Science and Technology" (LOST). In January 2019 he will join the WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research as Distinguished Professor of Science and Technology Studies. Inspired by social studies of science and technology and renditions of pragmatist social theory, the emergence of material-semiotic orderings and their institutionalizations are at the heart of his current work.

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Tabitha Schnoeller
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie