Return to Structural Criticism: Is the Synthesis of Criticism and Crisis Possible again in ‘Late’ Capitalism?


  • Alpar Lošonc University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Scinces, SANU Belgrade
  • Pavle Milenković University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy
  • Mark Losoncz University of Belgrade, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory



criticism, crisis, structure, conjuncture, capitalism, neoliberalism


Retrospection and transformation of the phenomena of criticism and crisis in social theory in recent decades have led to the weakening and even “illegitimate” renunciation of the said doublet. The paper presents an analysis of the renewal of discourse on criticism/crisis and its effects with special consideration of the possibilities of structural criticism. We included several authors of recent analyses as well as the viewpoints that have led to reconsideration of historical and analytical dynamics of two categories, structure and conjuncture, as a form of analysis of current structural processes in terms of structural analysis and criticism. The paper comprises three parts. The first part is a reflection on the reason criticism and crisis have been subjected to different processes of derogation despite their original connection. In the second part, we show the effects of different ways that crisis has manifested itself in capitalism and explain its dispersive and “non-punctual” modalities. The third part raises the question of chances of reuniting the crisis and “immanent criticism” based on structural criticism, and we further articulate its connections with immanent criticism. Structural criticism is viewed as a connection between immanent criticism and transcendent orientation that is focused on the reconnection between crisis and criticism, the elements related to capitalism. 


Antentas, Josep Maria (2016), “Daniel Bensaïd, Melancholic Strategist”, Historical Materialism 24 (4) 51–106.

Arendt, Hannah (1961), Between Past and Future, New York: Viking Press.

—. (2013), „Wahrheit und Politik“ In Wahrheit und Lüge in der Politik, München: Piper Taschenbuch, pp. 44–92.

Arruzza, Cinzia (2015), “Logic or History? The Political Stakes of Marxist-Feminist Theory”, Viewpoint Magazine 4, (internet) available at: (viewed on 21 September, 2020).

—. (2017), “Capitalisms Insidious Charm vs. Women’s and Sexual Liberation”, in Banu Bargu, Chiara Botticci, (eds.), Feminism, Capitalism and Critique, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 85–101.

Azmanova Albena, (2014), “Crisis? Capitalism is Doing Very Well. How is Critical Theory?”, Constellations 21 (3): 351–365.

—. (2020), Capitalism On Edge. How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Crisis or Utopia, New York: Columbia University Press.

Badiou, Alain (2009), L’hypothèse communiste, Paris: Lignes.

Bailey, David J. (2015), “Resistance is futile? The impact of disruptive protest in the “silver age of permanent austerity”, Socio-Economic Review 13 (1): 5–32.

Balibar, Étienne (1993), “The Non-Contemporaneity of Althusser”, in Ann Kaplan, Michael Sprinker (eds.), The Althusserian Legacy, New York: Verso, pp. 1–16.

Baudrillard, Jean (1990), La transparence du Mal, Paris: Galilée.

Bauman, Zygmunt (1987), Legislators and Interpreters, London: Polity Press.

Bensaïd, Daniel (1997), Le Pari mélancolique, Paris: Fayard.

Bidet, Jacques (1999), Théorie générale. Théorie du droit, de l’économie et de la politique, Paris: PUF.

Bierwirth, Julian (2015), „Henne und Ei. Der Wert als Einheit von Handlung und Struktur“, Krisis 1: 5–32.

Blühdorn, Ingolfur (1999), “Beyond Criticism and Crisis: On the Post-Critical Challenge of Niklas Luhmann”, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe 7 (2) 185–199.

Böhme, Hartmut (1988), Natur und Subjekt, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Boltanski, Luc; Honneth, Axel; Celikates, Robin (2014), “Sociology of Critique or Critical Theory? Luc Boltanski and Axel Honneth in Conversation with Robin Celikates”, in Simon Susen, Bryan S. Turner (eds.), The Spirit of Luc Boltanski: Essays on the ‘Pragmatic Sociology of Critique’, London: Anthem Press, pp. 561–589.

Brown, Wendy (1999), “Resisting Left Melancholy”, Boundary 2: An International Journal of Literature and Culture 26 (3): 19–27.

Brunkhorst, Hauke (2011), “The Return of Crisis”, in Kjaer Poul et al. (eds.), The Financial Crisis in Constitutional Perspective, Oxford: Hart, pp. 133–173.

—. (2021), Von der Krise zum Risiko und zurück, Marburg: Metropolis-Verlag.

Callinicos, Alex (2014), Making History, Agency, Structure and Change in Social Theory, Brill, Leiden.

Carchedi, Guglielmo (2011), Behind the Crisis: Marx’s Dialectics of Value and Knowledge, Leiden, Brill.

Celikates, Robin (1999), Critique as Social Practice: Critical Theory and Social Self-Understanding, London: Rowman & Littlefield International Ltd.

Cohen, Gerald (1988), History, Labour, and Freedom: Themes from Marx, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Cordero, Rodrigo (2014), “Crisis and Critique in Jürgen Habermas’s Social Theory”, European Journal of Social Theory 17 (4): 1–19.

Covid-19: the impacts of the pandemic on inequality (2020), (internet) available at: (viewed on 15 September, 2020).

Crenshaw, Kimberle (1981), “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color”, Stanford Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 6,. 1241-1299.

Creydt, Meinhard (2018), „Zum Verhältnis zwischen Struktur und Handlung im Kapitalismus. Zur Kritik an gängigen Missverständnissen am Beispiel von Alex Demirovic“, Kritiknetz: Zeitschrift für Kritische Theorie der Gesellschaft, (internet) available at: (viewed on 15 September, 2020).

Dean, Jodi (2012), The Communist Horizon, London: Verso.

Demirović, Alex (2010), „Struktur, Handlung und ideale Durchschnitt“, Prokla: Zeitschrift für kritische Sozialwissenschaft 2: 153–176.

Demirović, Alex (2008), „Leidenschaft und Wahrheit Für einen neuen Modus der Kritik“, in Alex Demirović (ed.), Kritik und Materialität, Münster: Verlag Westfälisches Dampfboot.

Derrida, Jacques (2002), “Economies of the Crisis”, in Elizabeth Rottenberg (ed.), Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971–2001, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 55–69.

Đinđić, Zoran (1997), Jesen dijalektike, Beograd: Ideje.

Dinerstein, Ana Cecilia (2012), “Interstitial Revolution: On the Explosive Fusion of Negativity and Hope”, Capital & Class 36 (3): 521–540.

Dyer-Wytheford, Nick (1999), Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology Capitalism, University of Illinois Press.

Einspahr, Jennifer (2010), “Structural Domination and Structural Freedom: A Feminist Perspective”, Feminist Review 94: 1–19.

Elder-Vass, D. (2010), The Causal Power of Social Structures: Emergence, Structure and Agency, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Engster, Frank (2016), “Subjectivity and Its Crisis: Commodity Mediation and the Economic Constitution of Objectivity and Subjectivity”, History of the Human Sciences 29 (2), 77–95.

Fairclough, Norman (1992), Discourse and Social Change, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Flatschart, Elmar (2016), “Critical Realist Critical Discourse Analysis: A Necessary Alternative to Post-marxist Discourse Theory”, Journal of Critical Realism 15 (1): 21–52.

—. (2017), “Feminist Standpoints and Critical Realism. The Contested Materiality

of Difference in Intersectionality and New Materialism”, Journal of Critical Realism 16 (3): 284–302.

Freyenhagen, Fabian (2014), “Adorno’s Politics: Theory and Praxis in Germany’s 1960s”, Philosophy & Social Criticism; 40 (9): 867–893.

Fuchs, Christian; Sandoval, Marisol (2008), “Positivism, Postmodernism, or Critical Theory? A Case Study of Communications Students’ Understandings of Criticism’, Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies 6 (2): 112–141.

Gädeke, Dorothea (2019), “Does a Mugger Dominate? Episodic Power and the Structural Dimension of Domination”, The Journal of Political Philosophy 28 (2): 1–23.

Gerstenberger, Heide (2007), Impersonal Power: History and Theory of the Bourgeois State, Historical Materialism Book Series, Leiden: Brill.

—. (2022), Market and Violence, Leiden: Brill.

Grollios, Vasilis (2013), “Alex Callinicos’s Marxism: Dialectics and Materialism in Althusser and Frankfurt School”, Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory 41 (1): 55–75.

Haslanger, Sally (2015), “What is a (Social) Structural Explanation?”, Philosophical Studies 173: 113–130.

Henning, Christoph (2015), “Political Economy with Perfectionist Premises Three Types of Criticism in Marx in Michael J. Thompson (ed.), Constructing Marxist ethics – Critique, Normativity, Praxis, Leiden, Boston: Brill, pp. 266–288.

Heras, Jon L. (2017), “Politics of Power: Engaging with the Structure-Agency Debate from a Class-Based Perspective”, Politics 38 (1): 1–17.

Homer-Dixon, Thomas; Walker, Brian; Biggs, Reinette; Crépin, Anne-Sophie; Folke, Carl; Lambin, Eric F.; Peterson, Garry D. et al. (2015), “Synchronous Failure: The Emerging Causal Architecture of Global Crisis”, Ecology and Society 20 (3): 6.

Honneth, Axel (2007), Pathologien der Vernunft: Geschichte und Gegenwart der Kritischen Theorie, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Horkheimer, Max (2002), Critical Theory, Selected Essays, New York: Continuum.

Jackson, Ben (2014), “Capitalism, Neo-liberalism and Democracy: Wolfgang Streeck”, Renewal 22 (3-4): 74.

Jaeggi, Rachel (2017), “Crisis, Contradiction, and the Task of a Critical Theory”, in Banu Bargu, Chiara Bottici (eds.), Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique, Springer, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 209–224.

Jaeggi, Rachel; Wesche, Tilo (eds.) (2009), Was ist Kritik?, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Jessop, Bob (2016), “Primacy of the Economy, Primacy of the Political: Critical Theory of Neoliberalism”, in Ullrich Bauer, Uwe H. Bittlingmayer, Alex Demirovic, Tatjana Freytag (eds.), Handbuch Kritische Theorie, Wiesbaden: Springer, pp. 893–907.

Koselleck, Reinhart (2006), „Einige Fragen an die Begriffsgeschichte von Krise“, in Begriffsgeschichten. Studien zur Semantik und Pragmatik der politischen und sozialen Sprache, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, pp. 204–207.

Lindner, Urs (2011), „Epistemologie, Wissenschaft und Ethik. Zum Kritikbegriff der marxschen Kritik der politischen Ökonomie“, in Ingo Elbe, Sven Ellmers (eds.), Die Moral in der Kritik. Ethik als Grundlage und Gegenstand kritischer Gesellschaftstheorie, Berlin: Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, pp. 87–117.

Link, Jürgen; Hall, M. M. (2004), “From the ‘Power of the Norm’ to ‘Flexible Normalism’: Considerations After Foucault”, Cultural Critique 57: 14–32.

Lohoff, Ernst (2013), „Auf Selbstzerstörung programmiert“, Krisis 2: 1–57.

Lordon, Frédéric (2013), La société des affects, Paris: Seuil.

Lošonc, Alpar (2019), „Transformacija pojma krize i promena njenog uticaja na samorazumevanje današnje epohe“, Anali Ogranka SANU 15: 15–27.

—. (2020), „Samorazumevanje krize humanistike: protiv ‘invazivne’ instrumentalne racionalnosti“, Anafora 2: 341–366.

Lošonc, Alpar; Kosta, Josifidis (2021), “The Left between Crises: Antinomy of Powerlessness and Power” in Irena Ristić (ed.), Reseting the Left in Europe Challenges, Attempts and Obstacles, Belgrade: Institute of Social Sciences, pp. 26–53.

Madra, Yahya M.; Özselçuk, Ceren (2019), “Capital’s Sovereign Exception: The Liberal Matrix and Its Discontents”, Polygraph Journal 27: 111–133.

Malm, Andreas (2014), “Tahrir Submerged? Five Theses on Revolution in the Era of Climate Change”, Capitalism Nature Socialism 25 (3): 28–44.

Mandel, Ernest (1975), Late Capitalism, London: NLB.

Mau, Søren (2019), Mute Compulsion, A Theory of the Economic Power of Capital, London: Verso.

Mavroudeas, Stavros D.; Papadatos, Demophanes (2012), “Financial Regulation in the Light of the Current Global Economic Crisis”, International Critical Thought 2 (4): 486–499.

McNally, David (2017), “Intersections and Dialectics: Critical Reconstructions in Social Reproduction Theory”, in Tithi Bhattacharya (ed.), Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, London: Pluto, pp. 94–112.

Mezzadra, Sandro (2010), “Toward a Heterolingual Theory of the Multitude”, in Richard F. Calichman – John N. Kim (eds.), The Politics of Culture. Around the Work of Naoki Sakai, London: Routledge, pp. 121–137.

Milenković, Pavle; Lošonc, Alpar (2021), „Autofagija kapitalizma. Pandemijska kriza između prirode i društva“, Sociologija i prostor 59 (1): 35–53.

Milios, John; Sotiropoulos, Dimitris (2009), “Financialization: Market Discipline or Capital Discipline?”, in Rethinking Imperialism, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 167–184.

Morin, Edgar; Kern, Anne Brigitte. (1999), Homeland Earth: A Manifesto for the New Millenium. Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences, Cresskill, N.J: Hampton Press.

Morgan, Bronwen (2003), “The Economization of Politics: Meta-regulation as a Form of Nonjudicial Legality”, Social&Legal Studies, Vol. 12 Issue 4,

Özselçuk, Ceren; Madra, Yahya M. (2007), “Economy, Surplus, Politics: Some Questions on Žižek’s Political Economy Critique of Capitalism”, in Heiko Feldner, Fabio Vighi (eds.), Did Somebody Say Ideology? On Slavoj Žižek and Consequences, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholarly Publishing,

pp. 78–107.

Plender, John (2020), “The Seeds of the Next Debt Crisis”, Financial Times (March 4), (internet) available at: (viewed on 15 September, 2020).

Pepperell, Nicole (2010), 12 Dissembling Capital”, RMIT University. internet, avalaible viewed, 10.12.2022.

Petrović, Gajo (1971), Čemu Praxis, Zagreb: Hrvatsko filozofsko društvo.

Plehwe, Dieter; Slobodian, Quinn; Mirowski, Philip (eds.) (2020), Nine Lives of Neoliberalism, London, New York, NY: Verso Books.

Povinelli, Elizabeth A. (2017), “The Ends of Humans: Anthropocene, Autonomism, Antagonism, and the Illusions of Our Epoch”, The South Atlantic Quarterly 116 (2): 293–310.

Rasmussen, Mikkel Bolt; Routhier, Dominique (2019), “Critical Theory as Radical Crisis Theory: Kurz, Krisis, and Exit on Value Theory, the Crisis, and the Break”, Rethinking Marxism 31 (2) 173–193.

Ritsert, Jürgen (2009), „Der Mythos der nicht-normativen Kritik. Oder: Wie misst man die herrschenden Verhältnisse an ihrem Begriff“ in Stefan Müller (ed.), Probleme der Dialektik heute, Wiesbaden: Springer, pp. 161–176.

—. (2019), „Grundbegriff: Kritik“, in Uwe H. Bittlingmayer, Alex Demirović, Tatjana Freytag (eds.), Handbuch Kritische Theorie, Wiesbaden: Springer, pp. 45–89.

Roberts, Michael (2017), “Capitalism: Past its Use-by Date?”, Critique 45 (3): 319–338.

Roitman, Janet (2014), Anti-crisis, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Rorty, Richard (1994), “Feminism, Ideology, and Deconstruction: A Pragmatist View”, in Slavoj Žižek (ed.), Mapping Ideology, London, New York: Verso Books,

pp. 226–234.

Rose, Gillian (1978), The Melancholy Science, An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno, London: Macmillan Press.

Sartre, Jean Paul (1981), „Pledoaje za intelektualce“, in Žan-Pol Sartr, Portreti, Beograd, Nolit, pp. 249–305.

Schlaudt, Oliver (2022), Philosophy of Economics, London: Taylor/Francis.

Schumpeter, Joseph A. (1976), Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, London, New York: Routledge,

Streeck,Wolfgang (2015), “Comment on Wolfgang Merkel, ‘Is Capitalism Compatible with Democracy?’, Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politische Wissenschaft 9 (1-2): 49–60.

Thom, René (1976), “La notion de crise”, Communications 25: 34–38.

Tooze, Adam (2022), “Welcome to the World of the Polycrisis”, Financial Times, (internet) available at: (viewed on 12 March, 2022).

van Dyk, Silke (2017), „Krise der Faktizität? Über Wahrheit und Lüge in der Politik und die Aufgabe der Kritik“, Prokla. Zeitschrift für Kritische Sozialwissenschaft 47 (188): 347–367.

van der Pijl, Kees (2022), States of Emergency: Keeping the Global Population in Check, Atlanta: Clarity Press.

Vrousalis, Nicholas (2015), The Political Philosophy of G. A. Cohen. Bloomsbury.

—. (2017) “Review of Roberts, Marx’s Inferno”, (internet) available at: (viewed on 12 March, 2022).

—. (2019a), “The Capitalist Cage: Structural Domination and Collective Agency in the Market”, Journal of Applied Philosophy 38: 40–54.

—. (2019b), “How Exploiters Dominate”, Review of Social Economy 79 (1): 103–130.

Walzer, Michael (2000), „Mut, Mitleid und ein gutes Auge. Tugenden der Sozialkritik und der Nutzen von Gesellschaftstheorie“, Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 5: 709–718.

Wright, Erik Olin. Hahnel, Robin (2014), Alternatives to Capitalism. New York: New Left Project.



How to Cite

Lošonc, A., Milenković, P. and Losoncz, M. (2022) “Return to Structural Criticism: Is the Synthesis of Criticism and Crisis Possible again in ‘Late’ Capitalism?”, Filozofija i društvo/Philosophy and Society. Belgrade, Serbia, 33(4), pp. 961–981. doi: 10.2298/FID2204961L.