‘Humanism and Sociology’, Journal of Classical Sociology 16 (3): 310–317.

The posthuman orthodoxy that is still prevalent in the humanities and social sciences can be traced back to Heidegger’s (1993) Letter on Humanism. Published immediately after the end of World War II, Heidegger argues there that humanism is modernity’s ultimate hubris as it offered justification for the war and its crimes: concentration camps are seen as the definitive expression of humans’ intoxication with their own might and sense of self-importance. From Levi-Strauss to Latour, via Althusser, Foucault and Luhmman, the critique of humanism has remained a major trope that resonates also with the various motifs of feminist, postcolonial, neo-Marxist, transhumanist and animal right positions. They all contend that, far from being a noble ideal, the purported ‘universality’ of the human actively discriminates and exercises violence against those who are not White, European, bourgeois and male. This huMAN is the only real winner in the history of cruelty and domination that has been turned into the dystopian meta-narrative of modernity.


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