Thoroughly revised, this new edition of CriticalTheory of Technology rethinks the relationships between technology, rationality, and democracy, arguing that the degradation of labor--as well as of many environmental, educational, and political systems--is rooted in the social values that preside over technological development. It contains materials on political theory, but the emphasis has shifted to reflect a growing interest in the fields of technology and cultural studies.
Introduction : the politics of our selves -- Foucault, subjectivity, and the enlightenment : a critical reappraisal -- The impurity of practical reason : power and autonomy in Foucault -- Dependency, subordination, and recognition : Butler on subjection -- Empowering the lifeworld? autonomy and power in Habermas -- Contextualizing criticaltheory -- Engendering criticaltheory.
Modern technology is more than a neutral tool: it is the framework of our civilization and shapes our way of life. Social critics claim that we must choose between this way of life and human values. CriticalTheory of Technology challenges that pessimistic cliche. This pathbreaking book argues that the roots of the degradation of labor, education, and the environment lie not in technology per se but in the cultural values embodied in its design. Rejecting such popular solutions (...) as economic simplicity or spiritual renewal, Feenberg presents a compelling argument for broader democratic participation in technological choices. This book will be of special interest to scholars and students of philosophy, sociology, contemporary Marxism, and CriticalTheory. (shrink)
Introduction: the question of reason -- The Frankfurt School critique of reason -- Habermas's communicative rationality -- Macintyre's tradition-constituted reason -- A substantive reason -- Beyond relativism: reasonable progress and learning from -- Conclusion: toward a Thomistic-Aristotelian criticaltheory of society.
Displaying an impressive command of complex materials, Seyla Benhabib reconstructs the history of theories from a systematic point of view and examines the origins and transformations of the concept of critique from the works of Hegel to Habermas. Through investigating the model of the philosophy of the subject, she pursues the question of how Hegel´s critiques might be useful for reforumulating the foundations of critical social theory.
Critique of Violence is a highly original and lucid investigation of the heated controversy between poststructuralism and criticaltheory. Leading theorist Beatrice Hanssen uses Walter Benjamin's essay 'Critique of Violence' as a guide to analyse the contentious debate, shifting the emphasis from struggle to dialogue between the two parties. Regarding the questions of critique and violence as the major meeting points between both traditions, Hanssen positions herself between the two in an effort to investigate what critical (...) class='Hi'>theory and poststructuralism have to offer each other. In the course of doing so, she assembles imaginative new readings of Benjamin, Arendt, Fanon and Foucault, and incisively explores the politics of recognition, the violence of language, and the future of feminist theory. This groundbreaking book will be essential reading for all students of continental philosophy, political theory, social studies and comparative literature. Also available in this series: Essays on Otherness Hb: 0-415-13107-3: £50.00 Pb: 0-415-13108-1: £15.99 Hegel After Derrida Hb: 0-415-17104-4: £50.00 Pb: 0-415-17105-9: £15.99 The Hypocritical Imagination Hb: 0-415-21361-4: £47.50 Pb: 0-415-21362-2: £15.99 Philosophy and Tragedy Hb: 0-415-19141-6: £45.00 Pb: 0-415-19142-4: £14.99 Textures of Light Hb: 0-415-14273-3: £42.50 Pb: 0-415-14274-1: £13.99 Very Little ... Almost Nothing Pb: 0-415-12821-8: £47.50 Pb: 0-415-12822-6: £15.99. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider succinctly the main Marxist objections to Honneth’s model of critical social theory, and Honneth’s key objections to Marx-inspired models. I then seek to outline a rapprochement between the two positions, by showing how Honneth’s normative concept of recognition is not antithetical to functionalist arguments, but in fact contains a social-theoretical dimension, the idea that social reproduction and social evolution revolve around struggles around the interpretation of core societal norms. By highlighting the social theoretical (...) side of recognition, one can outline a model of critical social theory that in fact corresponds to the descriptive and normative features outlined by Marx himself. However, the price of this rapprochement for Honnethian criticaltheory is a greater emphasis on the division of labour as the central mechanism of social reproduction. (shrink)
Over the last decade, Axel Honneth has established himself as one of the leading social and political philosophers in the world today. Rooted in the tradition of criticaltheory, his writings have been central to the revitalization of criticaltheory and have become increasingly influential. His theory of recognition has gained worldwide attention and is seen by some as the principal counterpart to Habermass theory of discourse ethics. In this important new volume, Honneth pursues (...) his path-breaking work on recognition by exploring the moral experiences of disrespect that underpin the conduct of social and political critique. What we might conceive of as a striving for social recognition initially appears in a negative form as the experience of humiliation or disrespect. Honneth argues that disrespect constitutes the systematic key to a comprehensive theory of recognition that seeks to clarify the sense in which institutionalized patterns of social recognition generate justified demands on the way subjects treat each other. This new book by one of the leading social and political philosophers of our time will be of particular interest to students and scholars in social and political theory and philosophy. (shrink)
This paper aims at renovating the prospects for social philosophy through a confrontation between pragmatism and criticaltheory. In particular, it contends that the resources of pragmatism for advancing a project of emancipatory social philosophy have so far been neglected. After contrasting the two major traditions in social philosophy—the analytical and the critical—I proceed to outline the main traits of a pragmatist social philosophy. By inscribing pragmatism within the tradition of social philosophy, my aim is to promote (...) a new understanding of pragmatism as one of the central Euro-American traditions in social and political philosophy, deserving to be on an equal footing with criticaltheory and political liberalism. And, furthermore, one whose critical and radical force may be of great help in the wake of the dismissal of the metaphysical certainties upon which the critical program of social philosophy had once set its hopes of social emancipation. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that criticaltheory needs to make its socio-ontological commitments explicit, whilst on the other hand I will posit that contemporary social ontology needs to amend its formalistic approach by embodying a criticaltheory perspective. In the first part of my paper I will discuss how the question was posed in Horkheimer’s essays of the 1930s, which leave open two options: (1) a constructive inclusion of social ontology within social philosophy, or (...) else (2) a program of social philosophy that excludes social ontology. Option (2) corresponds to Adorno’s position, which I argue is forced to recur to a hidden social ontology. Following option (1), I first develop a metacritical analysis of Searle, arguing that his social ontology presupposes a notion of 'recognition' which it cannot account for. Furthermore, by means of a critical reading of Honneth, I argue that criticaltheory could incorporate a socioontological approach, giving value to the constitutive socio-ontological role of recognition and to the socio-ontological role of objectification. I will finish with a proposal for a socio-ontological characterization of reification which involves that the basic occurrence of recognition is to be grasped at the level of background practices. (shrink)
I argue here that the existence of hermeneutical injustice as a pervasive feature of our collective linguistic and conceptual resources undermines the originalist task at two levels: one procedural, one substantive. First, large portions of society were (and continue to be) systematically excluded from the process of meaning creation when the Constitution and its Amendments were adopted, so originalism relies on enforcement of a meaning that was generated through an undemocratic process. Second, the original meaning of some words in those (...) texts may be substantively objectionable as a result because they fail to capture the relevant experiences of affected people at the time even if they accurately capture the conceptual understanding of reasonable people at the time, and this substantive failing may infect the text’s democratic legitimacy. To the extent that it can be overcome, overcoming this epistemic problem will require originalists to take seriously the insights of criticaltheory, understood in this Note as a normative inquiry into the historical context of the language and meaning of statutory text. Because originalists are already committed to a nominally descriptive inquiry into this context, and because this nominally descriptive inquiry masks the inherently normative aspects of the hermeneutical landscape, the switch to an explicitly normative inquiry may prove quite painless. (shrink)
The struggle against liberalism in the totalitarian view of the state.--The concept of essence.--The affirmative character of culture.--Philosophy and criticaltheory.--On hedonism.--Industrialization and capitalism in the work of Max Weber.--Love mystified; a critique of Norman O. Brown and a reply to Herbert Marcuse by Norman O. Brown.--Aggressiveness in advanced industrial society.
The present paper contributes to a growing body of philosophical, sociological, and historical analyses of recent nanoscale science and technology. Through a close examination of the origins of contemporary nanotech efforts, their ambitions, and strategic uses, it also aims to provide the basis for a criticaltheory of emerging technologies more generally, in particular in relation to their alleged convergence in terms of goals and outcomes. The emergence, allure, and implications of nanotechnology, it is argued, can only be (...) fully appreciated if one looks beyond its immediate technical and scientific payoffs to its infrastructural and ideological aspects. While nanotechnology aims to reshape the world 'atom by atom', its most tangible result so far has been the profound effect it has had on the organization of science-at-large, not least as the result of a thorough reshaping of the 'soft' funding infrastructure that places signifi cant constraints on the pursuit of long-term scientific research programmes. The paper concludes by noting a persistent, and perhaps deepening, gap between the utopian visions of some of nanotechnology's most vocal proponents and the realities of contemporary nanotechnological practice, which continue to be marked by global inequities. (shrink)
This paper explores what insights can be drawn from criticaltheory to enrich and strengthen Sen’s capability approach in relation to technology and human development. The two theories share some important commonalities: both are concerned with the pursuit of “a good life”; both are normative theories rooted in ethics and meant to make a difference, and both are interested in democracy. The paper provides a brief overview of both schools of thought and their applications to technology and human (...) development. Three areas are identified where criticaltheory can make a contribution to the capability approach: conceptually, by providing a critical account of individual agency and enriching the concept of technology beyond the simplistic notion of commodities; methodologically, by sensitising towards reification and hegemony of scientific tools, and, finally, by emphasising reflexivity of researchers. (shrink)
[Excerpted From Editor's Introduction] Matthew Crippen takes this up in a Marcusian critique of Wittgenstein that attends, among other things, to the place of silence in that discourse. Referring to Horkheimer’s citation of the Latin aphorism that silence is consent, Crippen is critical of Wittgenstein’s admonition that we must pass over in silence those matters of which we cannot speak. This raises fascinating questions for criticaltheory that Crippen explores particularly with reference to Marcuse’s concept of one-dimensionality. (...) To the extent that Wittgenstein’s philosophy is “therapeutic,” it may effectively contain dissent by “helping” dissenters become “well-adjusted.” Marcuse, of course, was particularly concerned with the power of Total States— and particularly those engendered by advanced industrial capitalism—to contain dissent precisely by using therapeutic techniques to maintain adjustment. Bringing Marcuse and Wittgenstein together here has particularly explosive possibilities. In the context of a Total State, transformation depends on the possibility of calling the State into question from the inside (since “total” States systematically eliminate “outsides”). This is the point at which Wittgenstein’s silence becomes most intriguing. What is it, we must ask, that we cannot say? Silence may be (as Martin Luther King, Jr. said) more than consent: there comes a time when silence is betrayal. But this is one of many places where it pays to look at what is done as much as what is said. What game, we might ask, is Wittgenstein playing? And, more to the point, what is the field of play that joins Wittgenstein and Marcuse? John Cage famously said “I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry as I need it...” Crippen begins a process (via Wittgenstein) of putting poetry into play that has important implications for the public work of philosophers. (shrink)
Information security can be of high moral value. It can equally be used for immoral purposes and have undesirable consequences. In this paper we suggest that criticaltheory can facilitate a better understanding of possible ethical issues and can provide support when finding ways of addressing them. The paper argues that criticaltheory has intrinsic links to ethics and that it is possible to identify concepts frequently used in criticaltheory to pinpoint ethical concerns. (...) Using the example of UK electronic medical records the paper demonstrates that a critical lens can highlight issues that traditional ethical theories tend to overlook. These are often linked to collective issues such as social and organisational structures, which philosophical ethics with its typical focus on the individual does not tend to emphasise. The paper suggests that this insight can help in developing ways of researching and innovating responsibly in the area of information security. (shrink)
Now in its second edition, this collection is an intelligent, accessible overview of the entire CriticalTheory Tradition, written by one of the leading experts on the subject. Filled with original insights and valuable historical narratives, this work is a contribution that furthers the idea and spirit of criticaltheory as it weaves together a narrative from a series of examinations of the thoughts of many of the most important left Western intellectuals of the twentieth century. (...) Covering the work of major philosophical thinkers such as Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas and revisiting the contributions of lesser-known figures such as Karl Korsch and Ernst Bloch, Bronner measures the writing of these theorists against each other, postmodernist philosophers and the critical tradition reaching back to Hegel, and then connects the history of criticaltheory with important historical events and develops in the twentieth century. Of CriticalTheory and Its Theorists presents new insights useful to experienced scholars and offers clear summaries for students making this book an ideal introduction to the debates surrounding one of the most important intellectual traditions of the 20th Century. (shrink)
Philosophical controversies within contemporary criticaltheory arise largely from questions about the nature, scope and limits of human reason. As the linguistic turn in twentieth-century philosophy has increasingly given way to a sociocritical turn, traditional ideas of 'pure' reason have been left further and further behind. There is however considerable disagreement about what that shift entails for enlightenment ideals of self-consciousness, self-determination, and self-realization. In this book two prominent philosophers bring these disagreements into focus around a set of (...) familiar philosophical issues concerning reason and the rational subject, truth and representation, knowledge and objectivity, identity and difference, relativism and universalism, the right and the good. But these "perennial problems" are resituated within the context of criticaltheory as it has developed from the work of the Frankfurt School in the 1930's and 1940's to the multiplicity of contemporary approaches: genealogical, hermeneutic, neopragmatist, deconstructive, and reconstructive. (shrink)
This article addresses what philosophical anthropology may contribute to the debate between criticaltheory and poststructuralism. It examines one prong of Amy Allen’s critique of Judith Butler’s collapse of normal dependency into subjection. Allen is correct that Butler’s assessment of agency necessary for political action in inadequate theoretically. However, I believe that some accounting of the nature of the being for whom suffering and flourishing matter is necessary. To this end, I provide an ontogenesis of intentionality as a (...) response to Butler’s notion of the corporeal vulnerability shared by all human beings. On this basis, I articulate an anthropology that renders intelligible the sources of and links between mutual recognition and agency—as well as clarifying the sense in which the historical association between complementarity and gender can still be a resource for progressive thinking. (shrink)
Critical thinking, considered as a version of informallogic, must consider emotions and personal attitudesin assessing assertions and conclusions in anyanalysis of discourse. It must therefore presupposesome notion of the self. Criticaltheory may be seenas providing a substantive and non-neutral positionfor the exercise of critical thinking. It thereforemust presuppose some notion of the self. This paperargues for a Foucauldean position on the self toextend criticaltheory and provide a particularposition on the self for (...) class='Hi'>critical thinking. Thisposition on the self is developed from moretraditional accounts of the self from Descartes toSchopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Foucault contra Habermas is an incisive examination of, and a comprehensive introduction to, the debate between Foucault and Habermas over the meaning of enlightenment and modernity. It reprises the key issues in the argument between criticaltheory and genealogy and is organised around three complementary themes: defining the context of the debate; examining the theoretical and conceptual tools used; and discussing the implications for politics and criticism. In a detailed reply to Habermas' Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, this volume (...) explains the difference between Habermas' philosophical practice and Foucault's between the analytics of truth and the politics of truth. Many of the most difficult arguments in the exchange are subject to a detailed critical analysis. This examination also includes discussion of the ethics of dialogue; the practice of criticism; the politics of recognition, and the function of civil society and democracy. (shrink)
This book is the first comprehensive guide and introduction to the central theorists in the post-marxist intellectual tradition. In jargon free language it seeks to unpack, explain, and review many of the key figures behind the rethinking of the legacy of Marx and Marxism in theory and practice. Key thinkers covered include Cornelius Castoriadis, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari, Laclau and Mouffe, Agnes Heller, Jacques Derrida, Jurgen Habermas and post-Marxist feminism. Underlying the whole text is the central question: What (...) is Post-Marxism? Each chapter covers a key thinker or contribution and thus can be read as a stand alone introduction to the principal aspects of their approach. Each chapter is also followed by a summary of key points with a guide to further reading. Key Thinkers from CriticalTheory to Post-Marxism provides an ideal introduction to a hitherto complex subject and will be essential reading for all students of contemporary social and political inquiry today. (shrink)
This paper explains the genealogical method as it is understood and employed in contemporary Continental philosophy. Using a pair of terms from Bernard Williams, genealogy is contrasted with phenomenology as an `unmasking' as opposed to a `vindicatory' method. The genealogical method is also compared with the method of Ideologiekritik and recent criticaltheory. Although genealogy is usually thought to be allergic to universals, in fact Foucault, Derrida, and Bourdieu do not shun universals, even if they approach them with (...) caution. The conclusion is that genealogy is a viable and productive approach to social criticism and self-transformation. (shrink)
CriticalTheory constitutes one of the major intellectual traditions of the twentieth century, and is centrally important for philosophy, political theory, aesthetics and theory of art, the study of modern European literatures and music, the history of ideas, sociology, psychology, and cultural studies. In this volume an international team of distinguished contributors examines the major figures in CriticalTheory, including Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Benjamin, and Habermas, as well as lesser known but important thinkers such (...) as Pollock and Neumann. The volume surveys the shared philosophical concerns that have given impetus to CriticalTheory throughout its history, while at the same time showing the diversity among its proponents that contributes so much to its richness as a philosophical school. The result is an illuminating overview of the entire history of CriticalTheory in the twentieth century, an examination of its central conceptual concerns, and an in-depth discussion of its future prospects. (shrink)
In this paper the author is attempting to establish the relationship - or the lack of it - of the CriticalTheory to the "Jewish question" and justification of perceiving signs of Jewish religious heritage in the thought of the representatives of this movement. The holocaust marked out by the name of "Auschwitz", is here tested as a point where the nature of this relationship has been decided. In this encounter with the cardinal challenge for the contemporary social (...)theory, the particularity of the Frankfurt School reaction is here revealed through Adorno installing Auschwitz as unexpected but lawful emblem of the ending of the course that modern history has assumed. The critique of this "fascination" with Auschwitz, as well as certain theoretical pacification and measured positioning of the holocaust into discontinued plane of "unfinished" and continuation and closure of the valued project, are given through communicative-theoretical pre-orientation of Jürgen Habermas’s CriticalTheory and of his followers. Finally, through the work of Detlev Claussen, it is suggested that in the youngest generation of Adorno’s students there are signs of revision to once already revised CriticalTheory and a kind of defractured and differentiated return to the initial understanding of the decisiveness of the holocaust experience. This shift in the attitude of the CriticalTheory thinkers to the provocation of holocaust is not, however, particularly reflected towards the status of Jews and their tradition, but more to the age old questioning and explanatory patterns for which they served as a "model". The question of validity of the enlightenment project, the nature of occidental rationalism, existence of historical theology and understanding of the identity and emancipation - describe the circle of problems around which the disagreement is concentrated in the social criticaltheory. (shrink)
Recalling the phenomenological and Hegelian bases of the critique of misplaced concreteness, and supplementing these by the contribution of Gregory Bateson, it is possible to say that a contemporary critique of digital media cannot appeal to an irrevocable concreteness nor finally defeat abstraction. Since the digital media complex is characterized by temporal decay, transversality, and singularity, a new departure for a criticaltheory of digital media must centre on the cultural unconscious and the limit, or edge, of the (...) cultural complex. (shrink)
Jurgen Habermas' construction of a critical social theory of society grounded in communicative reason is one of the very few real philosophical inventions of recent times that demands and repays extended engagement. In this elaborate and sympathetic study which places Habermas' project in the context of criticaltheory as a whole past and future, J. M. Bernstein argues that despite its undoubted achievements, it contributes to the very problems of ethical dislocation and meaninglessness it aims to (...) diagnose and remedy. Bernstein further argues that the precise character of the failures of Habermas' program demonstrate the necessity for a return to the first generation criticaltheory of Adorno. Reading across nearly the whole range of Habermas' corpus, Recovering Ethical Life traces the development of the theory of communicative reason from its inception in Knowledge and Human Interests through its elaboration in The Theory of Communicative Action and into its defense against postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity . In separate chapters Habermas' readings of Freud, Durkheim amd Mead, Adorno and Foucault, Castoriadis and Taylor are critically examined. The focus of Bernstein's analyses, however, is always problem centered and thematic rather than textual psychoanalytic theory as an account of self knowledge, the competing claims of ethical identity and moral reason, the place of judgment in practical reason, and the debate between philosophies of language based communities versus those oriented towards world-disclosure. Criticaltheory is unique among current philosophies in engaging with the problems of social injustice and nihilism by siding with an abstract moral reason that forfeits the processes of intersubjective recognition it intended to salvage. Even in the fine grain of Habermas' account of performative contradictions and the theory of discourses of application, Bernstein perceives a squandering of the resources of an ethical life in need of transfiguration. (shrink)
This article focuses on the power of technological mediation from the point of view of autonomist Marxism. The first part of the article discusses the theories developed on technological mediation in postphenomenology and criticaltheory of technology with regard to their respective power perspectives and ways of coping with relations of power embedded in technical artifacts and systems. Rather than focusing on the clashes between the hermeneutic postphenomenological approach and the dialectics of criticaltheory, it is (...) argued that in both the category of resistance amidst power-relations is at least similar in one regard: resistance to the power of technology is conceptualized as a reactive force. The second part of the article reads technological mediation through the lens of the antagonistic power-perspective on class struggle developed in autonomist Marxism. The outline of a provisional autonomist philosophy of technology is developed using Foucauldian dispositifs of biopower in contrast to the hermeneutic and dialectical approach. It is thus argued that resistance should here be understood in terms of practice that subverts the technically mediated circuit of production itself. (shrink)
This paper attempts to forge a dialogue between Machiavelli and Andrew Feenburg's CriticalTheory of Technology. It makes some interesting points along the way, but I've re-thought a lot of what I say in here, and am not sure if I would still endorse it all.
The paper examines two philosophical origins of multicultural education -- postmodern philosophy and criticaltheory. Criticaltheory is closely connected to grand narrative of liberation, while postmodern tradition rejects such narrative. The ambivalence of fundamental assumptions makes multicultural theory vulnerable to criticism. However, author maintains, this ambivalence can be a strength rather than a weakness of the multicultural theory. Using Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of polyphony, author attempts to show that incompatible theoretical perspectives may productively (...) coexist within framework of dialogical engagement. The result of such dialogical relations is reciprocal change and not an eventual merge. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore and defend ideology critique as a method that is descended from the project of the critique of reason. Specifically, I interpret ideology critique as operating through what criticaltheory calls the dialectics of immanence and transcendence. Turning to Hegel and Marx, I further argue that the dialectics of immanence and transcendence must be more concretely understood as the dialectics of life and self-consciousness. Understanding the relation between life and self-consciousness is crucial for ideology (...) critique because what ideologies distort is the relation between self-consciousness and life, a relation that is fundamental to the actualization of human freedom. I argue that ideologies are social pathologies, or wrong ways of living. I analyze two concepts that illuminate the method of ideology critique in particular: Hegel’s “Idea,” and Marx’s Gattungswesen (species-being). These two concepts provide the normative basis for reconsidering ideology critique in light of a non-reductive critical naturalism. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to present Sartre’s early philosophical anthropology and later existential Marxism as part of the development of a pure CriticalTheory that, with respect to its content and with respect to the context of its production, informs a trajectory that runs through the events of May ’68. Both Sartre’s pure CriticalTheory and the events of May ’68 share deep commitments to possibility, agency, and ethics. A different trajectory that runs through (...) May ’68 is the post-humanism of Foucault, which both contrasts directly with Sartrean CriticalTheory, and traces useful boundaries around it and its application. In the twenty-first century, significant elements of a CriticalTheory that remains committed to possibility, agency, and ethics, but that pays heed to Foucauldian boundaries, may be seen in the contestation of mainstream politics that at the same time stands on its own as an activism best exemplified by the alternative press. The contestation of propaganda is possible, and its completion requires that agents pit subjects against subjection as the way to a better future. (shrink)
Containing over 750 in-depth entries, this is the most wide-ranging and up-to-date dictionary of criticaltheory available. It covers the whole range of criticaltheory, including the Frankfurt school, cultural materialism, cultural studies, gender studies, film studies, literary theory, hermeneutics, historical materialism, internet studies, and sociopolitical criticaltheory. Entries clearly explain even the most complex of theoretical discourses, such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, deconstruction, and postmodernism. There are biographies of important figures in the (...) field, with feature entries for those who have heavily influenced areas of the discipline, e.g. Deleuze. -/- Entries are fully cross-referenced and contain further reading where appropriate. To provide extra information this edition features an appendix of recommended web links, which are accessible via the Dictionary of CriticalTheory companion website, where they are also checked regularly and kept up to date. -/- Covering all aspects of the subject from globalization and race studies, to queer theory and feminism, this multidisciplinary A-Z is essential for students of literary and cultural studies and is useful for anyone studying a humanity subject requiring a knowledge of theory. (shrink)
This accessible and wide-ranging introduction to criticaltheory provides a comprehensive overview of the practice, role, and importance of theory across the humanities and social sciences. It not only maps a notoriously complex area, but it also enables the reader to take the arguments and apply them in practice. Starting with an explanation of how theory relies on implicit assumptions that inform interpretations, the book moves on to depict the long-term philosophical problems that have fed into (...) much 20th century thinking and also more recent debates. The philosophical grounds of contemporary thought are traced from Plato through Descartes to the work of Heidegger and Freud and on to recent developments in structuralism and deconstruction that critically revise many of the previous terms of debate. (shrink)
_The Handbook of Critical Theory_ brings together for the first time a detailed examination of the state of criticaltheory today. The fifteen essays provide analyses of the various orientations which criticaltheory has taken both historically and systematically in recent years, expositions of the new perspectives which have begun to shape the field, and reflections upon the direction of criticaltheory.
The essays in this volume reflect on and expand Frankfurt School criticaltheory as reformulated after World War II by Karl-Otto Apel, Jürgen Habermas, and others. Frankfurt School criticaltheory since the pragmatic turn has become a richer source of critical analysis that is at the same time socially and politically more effective. The essays are dedicated to Thomas McCarthy, who has done perhaps more than any other scholar to introduce English-speaking audiences to contemporary German (...)criticaltheory.The book is organized into three parts. Part one deals with social theory and the rational basis of communication, including basic issues raised by the pragmatic turn. Part two examines conceptions of autonomy and the self. Part three deals with political theory, focusing on problems stemming from sociocultural pluralism. Together, the essays provide an overview of the latest developments in Frankfurt School criticaltheory as it responds to the challenges of pragmatism and social pluralism. (shrink)
Continental Philosophy of Social Science demonstrates the unique and autonomous nature of the continental approach to social science and contrasts it with the Anglo-American tradition. Yvonne Sherratt argues for the importance of an historical understanding of the Continental tradition in order to appreciate its individual, humanist character. Examining the key traditions of hermeneutic, genealogy, and criticaltheory, and the texts of major thinkers such as Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, Nietzsche, Foucault, the Early Frankfurt School and Habermas, she also contextualizes (...) contemporary developments within strands of thought stemming back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Sherratt shows how these modes of thinking developed through medieval Christian thought into the Enlightenment and Romantic eras, before becoming mainstays of twentieth-century disciplines. Continental Philosophy of Social Science will serve as the essential textbook for courses in philosophy or social sciences. (shrink)
Introduction -- The dialectic's narrow margin: film noir between Adorno and Hegel -- On criticaltheory's dialectical dilemma -- a configuration pregnant with tension: Fritz Lang for criticaltheory -- Coda: the enjoyment of film in theory.
Jurgen Habermas's critical communications theory of society has excited widespread interest in recent years. The essays in this book explore the research implications of Habermas's theory for the analysis of modern problems of public life.
This book offers a detailed account of Spinozaa s influence on various schools of present--day critical thought. That influence extends from Althusserian Marxism to hermeneutics, deconstruction, narrative poetics, new historicism, and the unclassifiable writings of a thinker like Giles Deleuze. The author combines a close exegesis of Spinozaa s texts with a series of chapters that trace the evolution of literary theory from its period of high scientific rigour in the mid--1960s to its latest "postmodern", neopragmatist or anti--theoretical (...) phase. He examines the thought of Althusser, Macherey and Deleuze as well as others who have registered the impact of his pioneering work without any overt acknowledgement. On the one hand, theorists like Althusser and Macherey could celebrate Spinoza as the first philosopher before Marx to understand the need for a riorous distinction between science and ideology. On the other, Deleuze makes Spinoza the hero of his crusade against theories of whatever kind -- Kantian, Marxist, Freudian, post structuralist -- which always end up by imposing some abstract order of concepts and categories on the libidinal flux of "desiring production", or the "body--without--organs" of anarchic instinctual drives. (shrink)
This paper attempts to sketch a critical model of political community by drawing upon recent contributions to the theory of ‘recognition’, particularly in the work of Axel Honneth. The paper proceeds by, first, delineating key features shared by a range of positions associated with ‘communitarianism’, along with the limitations and problems incurred by these commitments. The second part of the paper attempts to mobilise Honneth’s theoretical work to develop a conception of community that shares a number of the (...) basic premisesvis-á-vis political life associated with communitarianism, but which nevertheless accommodates the reservations expressed by communitarianism’s liberal and radical critics. (shrink)
In this article I consider the relevance of Tomasello’s work on social cognition to the theory of communicative action. I argue that some revisions are needed to cope with Tomasello’s results, but they do not affect the core of the theory. Moreover, they arguably reinforce both its explanatory power and the plausibility of its normative claims. I proceed in three steps. First, I compare and contrast Tomasello’s views on the ontogeny of human social cognition with the main tenets (...) of Habermas’ theory of communicative action. Second, I suggest how to reframe the role of language in the theory of communicative rationality in order to integrate the two theories. Third, I show how this affects social ontology, supporting the view that the construction of social reality is normatively constrained by the bounds of reason. (shrink)
Liberation philosophy and democratic struggles -- The quest for the revolutionary subject : the early Marcuse -- The retrieval of Eros and the quest for a new sensibility -- Marcuse and the problem of intersubjectivity : beyond drive theory -- One-dimensional society and the demise of dialectical thinking -- Spectres of liberation : beyond one-dimensional man -- Liberal democracy and its limits : the challenge of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation -- Marcuse and discourse ethics -- Liberation and (...) the democratic vision : educating for a new sensibility. (shrink)
The second edition of Cultural Studies and the New Humanities provides a comprehensive overview of issues in the humanities at the turn of the new millennium, providing historical background, defining key terms, and introducing the ideas of key thinkers. This second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated, and new chapters have been added about the rise of visual cultures and the fierce contemporary debate between identity politics and queer theory.