Clarifying ultra-realism: A response to Wood et al.

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Journal Article
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University of Canterbury
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Raymen, Thomas
Kuldova, Tereza Østbø

Ongoing critique and reconstruction are integral to all academic disciplines. The absence of informed critique and continuous adherence to dominant theoretical models leads our disciplines to ossify and stagnate. However, if critique is to play a dialectical role, it must be informed and honest, and it must accurately represent its object. In this respect, Wood et al.’s attempted critique of ultra-realism fails to contribute anything of value to our discipline. The ultra-realism Wood, Anderson and Richards (2020) seem determined to bring down before it gains more altitude is, to us, totally unrecognisable. It bears no relation to the body of theory and research that many scholars have worked to develop over the preceding five years. In the face of misrepresentation and misunderstanding so complete that it approaches totality, the goal of the present article is, first and foremost, to identify and rectify these errors, and explain how they are based on a series of glaring omissions of what competent commentators regard as ultra-realism’s key concepts, texts and basic features.

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