Kritiks (or critiques) are arguments that isolate a particular aspect of the resolution or of an opponents case that is 'problematic.' Ks can focus on philosophy, sociology, being, identity, or even economics. K debate is considered strategic because critiques will often link to a variety of affirmatives on every topic and can be used to 'frame out' other positions. Ks can be leveraged as criticisms of an opponents entire methodology and thus can be used to indite the form of their arguments and even the way they are presented. For instance, some criticisms of general concepts like 'rule-making' or 'reason' can be used to respond to theory, truth testing role of the ballots, and framework arguments. K's are a very common style of debate in both LD and Policy.
Structure of Kritiks
All kritiks, no matter their literature base, follow a similar form. They start with the link, which isolates the specific issue with the affirmative's orientation, followed by the impact, which explains the problem with that orientation, ending with the alternative, which proposes an alternative strategy which avoids the affirmative's problem. Some kritiks also include a specific role of the ballot to tell the judge how they should be making their decision.
Responding to Kritiks
There are a standard set of arguments you should know when responding to kritiks from a policy aff. These responses range from giving reasons why working within political institutions are good to specific reasons why the kritik's alternative will fail. The Policy vs Ks section explains more about responding to kritiks from a political perspective.
Certain affirmatives will choose to not defend the topic in the form of a non-topical affirmative. These affirmatives will argue that defending the topic is itself problematic and provide an alternative reason why the judge should still vote for them. Non-topical affirmatives are typically rooted in critical literature and can be strategic since debaters can work through multiple topics to perfect their aff.
Critical Literature Bases
There are a core set of literature bases that are used in LD read both on the affirmative and negative side, categorized below.