Communicating Criticality

Steven Maras


This essay explores communicating criticality as a problem in how we conceive of and speak about critical practice. This focus is distinct from “communicating critically,” which we can view as a performance or intervention in accordance with a particular sense of critique or critical urgency. Pedagogically, the notion of communicating criticality is linked to the assumption that as well as informing students and others about traditions of critique, and giving them a sense of its political importance, we should seek to foster the ability to evaluate different forms and styles of critique beyond an assessment of counter-arguments. In order to achieve this, we need to think about criticality, forms of critical practice, and reflect on the nexus between communication, critical theory and performance. This essay begins with a discussion of the state of “being critical” and then goes on to develop and elaborate a concept of criticality. Criticality relates to the way a critical perspective defines or figures its own ground of intervention, or the way it sets up and constructs the problem to which it seeks to respond. Being attuned to criticality is about being aware of the way different approaches figure critical theory and practice, and what it means to be critical. In this sense the concept of criticality underpins a highly relational notion of the politics and ethics of criticism and critique.

Full Text: