Political praxis, social analysis and western modernization: a theoretical-political route for critical social theory

Griot : Revista de Filosofia 20 (2):154-173 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper criticizes the emphasis placed by contemporary social theory and political philosophy on institutionalism as the basis for the understanding, legitimation and changing of institutions, or social systems, and society as a whole. The more impactful characteristic of institutionalism is its technical-logical structuring, based on an impartial, neutral and formal proceduralism that autonomizes social systems in relation to political praxis and social normativity, depoliticizing these social systems. Here, they are no longer depoliticized, but assume political centrality as the fundamental social subjects of the legitimation and evolution of institutions and society. The paper’s central argument is that it is necessary to re-politicize the institutions and the social subjects or social classes in order to ground and streamline a direct political praxis and the civil society’s social-political subjects as the basis for framing and legitimizing the current process of Western modernization. Recovering the politicity and the carnality of institutions, of social classes and of the evolution of society, is the fundamental task for a contemporary critical social theory that faces the strong institutionalism based on systemic theory. Such politicization is the unforgettable teaching of Karl Marx and Erich Fromm: the institutions have political content and political subjects, they are the result of social struggles for hegemony between opposed social classes which are political. Now, such politicity-carnality must be unveiled and used for an emancipatory democratic political praxis as the route for social analysis and political change, in opposition to the technical-logical understanding both of the institutions and of the social subjects.

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