The pantomime of critique: On decadent indignation and the (im)possibility of radical social change. 

4 Apr 2022

We are delighted to welcome Diana Stypinska, NUIG as a guest lecturer to our Department Wednesday April 6 2022 5-6.30  (ORB 255 - seminar room).

The pantomime of critique: On decadent indignation and the (im)possibility of radical social change. 

Diana Stypinska, NUIG 

Weds April 6th 5pm-6.30: (ORB 255 - seminar room) 

Historically, indignation has been posited as a dynamo of critique, and therefore, of social change. Yet, today, despite popular levels of discontent at an all-time high, the possibility of radical transformation of our crisis-ridden societies seems out of reach. Indeed, as I will argue in this presentation, critique itself seems to have turned into a pantomime – a series of highly-animated, yet predictable, displays of indignation that exert dubious political effects. 

How did we arrive at this predicament? Why does our all-too-visible discontent with the status quo so rarely translate into meaningful political action? Taking these questions as its starting point, my talk will explore the contemporary banalisation of critique, focusing specifically on its disconnection from the idea of radical social change. It will offer some reflections on the increasingly decadent character of today’s indignation, demonstrating how, paradoxically, discontent ends up being removed from common use by being put into virtual circulation. 


Diana Stypinska is a Lecturer in Social Theory in the School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland, Galway. Her work traverses critical theory, continental philosophy, cultural studies and critical sociology. She is the author of On the Genealogy of Critique: Or How We Have Become Decadently Indignant (2020, Routledge).

Department of Sociology & Criminology

Socheolaíocht & Coireolaíocht

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