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Towards an ontology of contemporary reality?

Simon Susen (2023)

Theory, Culture and Society. Special Section: Boltanski-Esquerre on Enrichment, Online first, open access

Abstract. The main purpose of this paper is to provide a critical overview of the key contributions made by Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre in Qu’est-ce que l’actualité politique? Événements et opinions aux XXIe siècle. Whereas Enrichment: A Critique of Commodities is essentially a study in economic sociology, Boltanski and Esquerre’s latest book reflects a shift in emphasis towards political sociology. As demonstrated in this paper, their inquiry into the ontologie de l’actualité – that is, the ontology of contemporary reality – contains valuable insights into the relationship between the production, circulation, and consumption of news, on the one hand, and the emergence of processes of politicization, on the other. The first half of this paper comprises a summary of the central arguments developed in Boltanski and Esquerre’s investigation, before moving, in the second half, to an assessment of its most significant limitations.

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