International Summer School Critical Theory 2018. Re-Thinking Ideology

From July 16th-20th 2018


Summer School

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.

Here you can find a resume of the summer school’s results written by Janosch Prinz (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of East Anglia, UK).

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?

The summer school involved plenary lectures and discussions, reading sessions, smaller group discussions and panel debates in order to stimulate debates across paradigms.

Instructors: 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).

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.

Download here: Program Summer School 2018

Mo, 16.07.

9:30 – 11:15 Welcome & Introductions (background reading: Raymond Geuss)

11:30 – 12:15 Group Discussions Marx I

12:15 – 13:00 Plenary Discussion Marx I

15:00 – 16:30 Axel Honneth

17:00 – 18:30 Rahel Jaeggi

19:00 – 21:00 Round-Table: The concept of Ideology in Critical Theory
(with Robert Gooding-Williams, Sally Haslanger, Karen Ng, Titus Stahl & Axel Honneth; moderation: Rahel Jaeggi) Location: Unter den Linden 6, R. 2049a

Di, 17.07.

9:30 – 11:00 Group Discussion Marx II & Adorno

11:30 – 13:00 Plenary Discussion Marx II & Adorno

15:00 – 16:30 Karen Ng

17:00 – 18:30 Titus Stahl

Mi, 18.07.

9:30 – 10:15 Group Discussion Du Bois

10:15 – 11:00 Plenary Discussion Du Bois

11:30 – 13:00 Robert Gooding-Williams

15:00 – 16:30 Information for international students at the HU

(18:00 graduation ceremony for the Humboldt University philosophy
department, attendance optional, Keynote by Alice Crary)

Thursday 19.07.

9:30 – 11:00 Group Discussions Althusser & Bourdieu

11:30 – 13:00 Plenary Discussions Althusser & Bourdieu

15:00 – 16:30 Robin Celikates

17:00 – 18:30 Martin Saar

Friday, 20.07.

9:30 – 10:15 Group Discussion Simone de Beauvoir

10:15 – 11:00 Plenary Discussion Simone de Beauvoir

11:30 – 13:00 Alice Crary

15:00 – 16:30 Sally Haslanger

17:00 – 19:00 Round-Table: Resume (Janosch Prinz) & Future Perspectives (Robin Celikates, Alice Crary, Robert Gooding-Williams, Karen Ng, Rahel Jaeggi, Martin Saar, Titus Stahl; moderation: Eva von Redecker) Location: Unter den Linden 6, R. 2049a

To apply for participation, graduate students and junior scholars are invited to submit a precis of their take on core concerns of ideology critique and a CV (each document 1 page). The precis should show which particular background knowledge and systematic positions the applicants would bring to our joint discussions.

Deadline for applications: March 15th 2018, by email to:

There is no fee for the Summer School, but participants have to fund their own travel, accommodation and catering.
There will be some funds available for which international students without access to institutional reimbursement can apply in order to subsidize their travel costs.


International Summer School Critical Theory 2018. Re-Thinking Ideology