Genealogical pragmatism: Problematization and reconstruction

Abstract

I argue for a new broad-based form of critical inquiry which I refer to as genealogical pragmatism. This conception of critical inquiry combines the genealogical emphasis on problematization featured in Michel Foucault's work with the pragmatist emphasis on reconstruction featured in John Dewey's work. Rather than being understood as two opposed forms of critique and inquiry, as is commonly supposed, I demonstrate that problematization and reconstruction fit together quite well. The work of problematization invites the response of reconstruction just as the work of reconstruction requires the motivation supplied by problematization. This combination of genealogy and pragmatism not only yields an effective conception of critical inquiry, but also helps repair crucial deficits in both genealogy and pragmatism as they currently stand on their own.

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2009-01-28

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Colin Koopman
University of Oregon

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