International Summer School Critical Theory 2018. Re-Thinking Ideology

From July 16th-20th 2018


Summer School
Topic Resume


Why do people often accept, and even embrace, social and political conditions that seem to run counter to their own interests? How is it possible that we sometimes support forms of domination with our ways of behaving and thinking without intending or even realizing it? One answer to these questions refers to the notion of ideology. Ideologies are more or less coherent systems of practices and beliefs that shape how individuals relate to their social reality in ways that distort their understanding of what is wrong with that reality and thereby contribute to its reproduction.

This year’s summer school sought to clarify the meanings and theoretical roles of ideology, as the concept has been prominently developed from the writings of Marx via Critical Theory in the tradition of the Frankfurt School to more recent debates in feminism and analytic philosophy.

Key contemporary protagonists of ideology critique like Sally Haslanger, Robert Gooding-Williams, Axel Honneth, Alice Crary, Karen Ng, Titus Stahl, Robin Celikates, Martin Saar and Rahel Jaeggi presented at the summer school and facilitated debates both of key texts from canonical authors and of their own systematic positions.

We discussed questions such as: What is ideology and in which sense are ideologies false or deficient? How do ideologies come into existence and how do they function? On which basis and from which standpoint can ideologies be criticized? What is the continuing relevance of the notion of ideology for a critical understanding of our social and political reality and especially of phenomena such as racism, sexism, neoliberalism and right-wing populism? How does ideology critique compare to other modes of immanent criticism, such as genealogy, performative critique and rational reconstruction? And how can the significant methodological, theoretical and normative challenges to traditional understandings of ideology be addressed?

Organizers: Rahel Jaeggi, Eva von Redecker, Isette Schuhmacher (Humboldt University Berlin), Robin Celikates (University of Amsterdam), Martin Saar (Goethe University, Frankfurt) in cooperation with the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and the New School for Social Research.

Robin Celikates (University of Amsterdam)

Alice Crary (Oxford/New School)

Robert Gooding-Williams (Columbia)

Sally Haslanger (MIT)

Axel Honneth (Columbia/IfS)

Rahel Jaeggi (HU Berlin)

Karen Ng (Vanderbilt)

Martin Saar (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Titus Stahl (Groningen)

International Summer School Critical Theory 2018. Re-Thinking Ideology