Critical Theory

Topics: Sociology, Frankfurt School, Jürgen Habermas Pages: 2 (443 words) Published: January 19, 2013
Critical Theory:
Critical theory is a body of ideas generally associated with the ‘Frankfurt School’. It was during the early 1980s that a new form of theoretic inquiry which was highly critical of tradional theories of IR, emerged. However the genesis of the theory can be found in the works of Kant and Marx with their emphasis on the ‘emancipatry purpose of knowledge and enquiry’. In other words critical theory entails ‘enlightenment project’ which subjects knowledge and education to the ideal purpose of freedom and liberation. Jurgon Habermas gave a new life to the critical and emancipatory views of Kant and Marx when he questioned the epistemological(source of knoeledge) and ontological(nature of being) foundations of existing social order and said that all knowledge is historically and politically based. Critical theory also involves the critique of modernity in the domains of state capitalism, high-tech reindustrialization and science-cum-computer oriented education system that have strengthened and perpetuated the hegemony and dominance of few.

Among the prominent critical theorists inclde Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Paulo Friere, John Forester, Herbert Mercuse, Andrew Linklater and Dieter Misgeld,etc,.
Trends in Critical Theory:
Following are important trends in critical theory:
a) Critical Social Theory:
The basic point of analysis in critical social theory is society as a whole. It seldom focuses on state. It discusses all the social structures which are responsible for dominance, ignorance and exploitation. Frankfurt Scool is the poineer of this trend.

b) Critical International Theory:
Critical international theory with its basis in emancipatory ideas of Kant and Marx seeks to look for the possibilities of tronsforming international relations so that constraints of dominance are removed and univaresal freedom and equality achieved. It is actually the extension of critical social theory to the domain of...
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