The Integration of Critique

Tahl Kaminer

Project Period:
Type: Affiliated Research Project
Program Area(s): Critical Historiography


The migration of ideas from the periphery to the centre stage of thought, debate, or disciplinary discourse has encouraged the creation of popular terms describing such processes, such as Thomas Kuhn’s “paradigm shift” and Malcolm Gladwell’s more recent “tipping point”. However, another type of migration of ideas from periphery to centre is the process of récupération, in which oppositional ideas and critique are absorbed by society and transformed from a threat to the system to being an integral part of it.

This is precisely theprocess which exposes the resilience of middle-class, capitalist society: its ability to counter threats and critique from its periphery not by exclusion, but by a selective inclusion that transforms the threat to a more benign, palatable idea. Récupération is thus a weapon against critique, even of the most amiable kind. The proposed paper will outline a theory of the process of societal integration of peripheral and oppositional ideas on an ideological and political level, identifying the manner in which architecture played a role in dissolving the threat of peripheral ideas and critique to middle-class, capitalist society. As a means of delineating the precise affect of récupération, the paper will concisely outline the role of critique in modern society and therelated alliance of critique with the reformist movement.

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