Critique can be located anthropologically in liminality, particularly the experience of communitas wherein everything is open to question and structures appear as external and meaningless. Rather than an intellectual preserve or an individual achievement, I argue that critique emerges from crises; that it diffuses proliferates and extends these liminal events and can be observed in contemporary politics, economics, media and everyday life. This anthropology of critique is situated alongside the emergent sociology of critique of Boltanski and others, and is historically grounded within chronic crises in modernity characterized by Szakolczai as 'permanent liminality'. Thus, modernity is constituted by critique and has become, amongst other things, a critical society. © The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.