Logics of Exposure: The Problem of Unmasking 2.00pm Tuesday 20th March
The event takes place on Tuesday 20 March at 2.00pm in the Ken Edwards Building.
Unmasking is a recurrent feature of modern sociology and cultural criticism. If false consciousness is a debilitating mental pattern imputed by intellectuals to religious groups and social classes, unmasking is, or claims to be, a corrective performed by intellectuals themselves. Unmasking supposes that enlightened enquirers are able to help the less rational to understand their real interests. Unmasking is conceived by its advocates as a theoretical tool of emancipation.
This talk (a) examines unmasking; and (b) contrasts it with an approach to understanding that I call disclosure. Disclosure attempts to grasp what actions are like for those who enact them, a technique that the Cambridge sociologist, W. G. Runciman, calls “tertiary understanding.” Nothing has been more often or consistently unmasked and with more venom than religion. It is the main
example explored in this talk and, with it, the divergent approaches to religion of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud (unmaskers) on the one hand, and James, Durkheim and Weber (disclosers) on the other. The unmasking strategy of Pierre Bourdieu is also discussed and distinguished from the disclosive approach of Jack Katz.