, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 107-125
Date: 20 Apr 2007

Society Against Societies: The Possibility of Transcultural Criticism

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Abstract

This paper argues against particularism about social criticism of the form presented by Walzer. I contend that while limitation of the scope of criticism depends on the existence of our shared meanings, which are not shared by them, shared meaning itself depends on society. So, an account of society showing that societies are not discrete and mutually inaccessible refutes particularism. I argue for such an account. I deal with the objection that the focus of particularism is culture, not society, and conclude that the conditions of possibility of shared meaning have anti-particularist consequences.

This paper draws on Samuel Clark, Living Without Domination: The Possibility of an Anarchist Utopia (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming 2007), chapter 2. I would like to thank Gideon Calder, and two anonymous referees for Res Publica, for their helpful comments on an earlier draft.