Forfatter: Åshild Fløgstad Svensson

An Interview with Lois McNay

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-—————Illustrasjon: Lisa Mrakic—————-

Why do critical theorists in general fail to address forms of structural oppression that are inherent in modernity, such as race, class and gender oppression, and their relation to the capitalist framework? Lois McNay argues that contemporary critical theorists have lost touch with critical theory’s initial stance, where theorizing starts from experience. She finds that their overriding concern with justificatory issues means that they fail to produce sociologically grounded accounts of oppression.

McNay is Professor of Political Theory at Oxford University and Fellow of Somerville College. She has written extensively on Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and the Frankfurt School of Critical Theorists, and pursues questions concerned with continental philosophy, political thought and feminist theory. She was recently appointed Professor II at the Centre for Gender Research at the University in Oslo in collaboration with the Faculty for Social Science. In September, she was the keynote speaker at a symposium hosted by the Centre on theorizing from experience, feminism, and critical theory.

In addition to a long list of published articles, McNay is the author of Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self (1992), Foucault: A Critical Introduction (1994), Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory (2000), Against Recognition (2007) and The Misguided Search for the Political (2014).
Articles by McNay that most prominently feature her investigation of critical theory and its difficulty accounting for structural oppression include “The Limits of Justification: critique, disclosure and reflexivity” in the European Journal of Political Theory (2016) and “The politics of exemplarity: Ferrara on the disclosure of new political worlds” in Philosophy & Social Criticism (2018).

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