Chapter 5: The Uncritical Political Affinities of Critical Realism
5. The Uncritical Political Affinities of Critical Realism The resulting impression is one of pulling global salvation out of the critical realist hat. Andrew Sayer, ‘Critical Realism and the Limits to Critical Social Science’ (1997). 5.1 INTRODUCTION Critical realism has established a substantial following, leading to the formation of the International Association for Critical Realism in 1997 and the subsequent launch of its Journal of Critical Realism in 2002.1 In particular, the works of Roy Bhaskar have attracted widespread interest, his ideas being adopted by leading social scientists, including Margaret Archer, Andrew Collier and Tony Lawson. To some degree, this reputation and following is deserved. Critical realism addresses some core issues in the philosophy of science and carries some important insights concerning the nature of scientific endeavour.2 Critical realism also makes persistent claims concerning its practical applicability and policy implications, which are often portrayed as radically socialist in character.3 This chapter scrutinizes three of the more prominent of these political claims: that critical realism (A) is emancipatory, (B) shows that 1 A version of this chapter first appeared as Hodgson (1999c). Since then I have come across Sayer (1997), which similarly argues that attempts to derive normative conclusions on the basis of explanatory critiques of social phenomena are flawed. Nielsen (2002) notes a tension between the highly politicized version of critical realism promoted by Bhaskar and the contrasting accounts of others such as Lawson and Fleetwood. 2 The modern ‘critical realism’ of Bhaskar, Archer, Lawson, Collier and others should not...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.