Critical Stew is a site devoted to Critical Theory and its unique ability to both explain and challenge “what goes without saying” in the contemporary world. We live in a mediascape dominated by either overtly banal thought or fundamentally banal thought dressed up as something more significant by a self-selecting, glibly censorious commentariat. The mere addition of the prefix E (E-Democracy) or suffix, 2.0 (Media Studies 2.0), is now frequently used as shorthand for uncritical celebrations of the culture industry.
Pluralising the phrase to the cultural industries, universities now train rather than educate students to bovinely meet its needs rather than question its foundational assumptions. Today’s defenders of the culture industry dislike and feel threatened by Critical Theory’s speculative, status quo-undermining qualities. They lack intellectual imagination and frequently exhibit po-faced attitudes to the conceptual playfulness of radical philosophy. By contrast, Critical Stew derives confidence from the fact that Critical Theory continues to make its mark on the intellectual history of our world interpreting the world in a way unavailable to the ‘abstract empiricism’ of more nominally ‘realistic’ approaches. Public discourse is now dominated by the intellectually defensive and insecure who have marginalized Critical Theory as they promote anodynely co-opted and accommodationist discourse. In conformist times, they excessively dramatize the otherness of Critical Theory’s valuable insights. In stubborn opposition, Critical Stew follows Heidegger’s belief that “questioning is the piety of thought”.
Critical Stew has been around in the form of Subalternstudies.org, but is now dedicated to deploying Critical Theory and Philosophy to engage with media, communications, culture, politics and everyday life and generate critical insights into our world.
Thus, Critical Stew is an international academic network interested in the use of Critical Theory and Philosophy for discussions and debates about our society. Critical Stew draws on the work of established and upcoming thinkers to research, critique, and comment about current issues. We welcome academics, researchers and general readers interested in using the Web as a tool for research collaboration and widening participation.
Critical Stew is published by Subaltern Media.