Critical Theory Now by Philip Wexler

By Philip Wexler

The authors during this assortment are a brand new new release of North American serious theorists who don't retreat to eu humanism within the face of social, cultural and self transformation. each actively encounters and works during the social and theoretical changest that experience happened due to the fact that Frankfurt-style severe thought. they're neither scholastic nor dogmatic. they don't eschew post-modernism for the hackneyed slogans, nor do they include conception as a classy alternative for thought as a socially tranformative perform. they're dedicated to social concept and social perform, and it's this which unifies the papers during this reader.

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Further, the issues surrounding the concept of poststructuralism resist any unified characterization and, not surprisingly, the responses of those associated with critical theory have been diverse, and sometimes contradictory. With the rapid decline of structuralist Marxism, and general disillusionment with the possibilities of fundamental change, poststructuralist tendencies emerged in France—associated above all with Derrida’s deconstructionism and Foucault’s theory of power and discourse— and quickly became popular in literary criticism and philosophy, eventually spreading even to sociology in the late 1980s (Hoy, 1986; Norris, 1982).

There are at least three important contexts in which the confrontation of critical theory and poststructuralism could be taken up in the context of cultural studies: (1) the systematic response of Habermas and those influenced by his example (see Dews, 1987); (2) specific disciplinary studies which identify with critical theory but have drawn extensively upon poststructuralist concepts and authors; and (3) the convergence of critical theory and poststructuralism in the context of neo-Gramscian cultural studies.

First, critical theory must be essentially reflective, reflexive and ironic rather than positive, objective and methodologically formalistic. In seeking a reflective, reflexive or ironic knowledge of social relations, critical theorizing should repudiate a positivistic mode of knowing tied uncritically to natural science models of investigation. Critical analysts must not follow set-piece research strategies, using formalistic methodologies intent upon grinding some preprocessed empirical data through an allegedly objective but still theory-laden mathematical model.

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