Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction

Oxford University Press
2
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Critical Theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose-and, if at all possible, cure-the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of leading representatives of the critical tradition (such as George Lukács and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. This Very Short Introduction sheds light on the cluster of concepts and themes that set critical theory apart from its more traditional philosophical competitors. Bronner explains and discusses concepts such as method and agency, alienation and reification, the culture industry and repressive tolerance, non-identity and utopia. He argues for the introduction of new categories and perspectives for illuminating the obstacles to progressive change and focusing upon hidden transformative possibilities. Only a critique of critical theory can render it salient for a new age. That is precisely what this very short introduction provides.
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About the author

Stephen Eric Bronner is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director for Global Relations at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers University.
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4.5
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Mar 18, 2011
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Pages
144
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ISBN
9780199831852
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / General
Philosophy / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Imagine a world in which means and ends, theory and practice, ideals, values, and interests, are torturously disassociated and yet manifestly linked. That is the world of the 20th century as Stephen Eric Bronner vividly portrays it in his important new work. Now imagine a world in which new traditions mix with the old, creativity blends with commitment, and values from the past combine with bold visions of the future. Creating this new fusion, says Professor Bronner, is the challenge for the 21st century and it inspires Ideas in Action. Contemporary political theory has become alienated from politics. It often neither discusses concrete political events nor touches the world of political action. That is an intellectual luxury the academy of the 21st century can ill-afford, and Ideas in Action offers an accessible way out of the box into which the canon of political theory and philosophy has been stuffed. With elegance and power, Bronner surveys 20th century political traditions. In the process, he places theories and thinkers in their social, historical, and political contexts. His sweeping presentation is organized into four imaginatively articulated phases that signal the direction of political thinking in the twentieth century. Offering distinctive interpretations and criticisms, presenting a new internationalist perspective, Bronner imbues the text with original voices and primary sources from the very canon he is reconfiguring. Careful notes of citation and explanation provide a pedagogical subtext that serves as a running bibliographic essay. All this and more makes
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