And he declares it a polemic all the more damning for its scrupulousness.
The research behind Cynical Theories is substantial – evidently exhausting, if not exhaustive. Despite ploughing through some 250 articles and books of very variable quality, the authors resist the temptation to descend into mockery. This will surprise some, since the writers are best known to the public for their involvement in the ‘Grievance Studies Affair’, in which twenty bogus academic papers – which used sloppy scholarship and junk science to breed social-justice chimeras – were submitted to academic social science journals. By the time the hoax was revealed, seven had been accepted for publication, and seven were actively under review. To some observers, this was a cynical, politically-motivated betrayal of hard-won academic trust; to others, it exposed real problems in the methodology and practice of activism-driven social sciences. It is to the credit of Cynical Theories that its contentions, however damning and depressing, cannot be dismissed without engagement.