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The Foundations of Social Research Ch 6

The Foundations of Social Research Ch 6

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Published by: Lindsay R. Calhoun on Oct 09, 2007
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The Foundations of Social Research

Michael Crotty Chapter 6: Critical Inquiry-The Marxist Heritage

The Foundations of Social Research
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Demystification v. demythologizing Paul Ricouer Demystification=suspicion/disillusion ment; the text represents a false reality and efforts are made to remove the masks and illusions and gain new interpretation Demythologizing=text is reverenced and its hidden meaning caringly sought after One is critical, one is interpretive

The Foundations of Social Research

Research that seeks to understand v. research that challenges Research that reads the situation in terms of interaction and community and research that reads it in terms of conflict and oppression Research that accepts the status quo and research that seeks to bring about change

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Critical Inquiry is about the power of ideas. Saul: “language provides legitimacy…” Is all critical inquiry necessarily Marxist? Why start with Marx? Who was Marx? Pp. 115-116 “All social life is essentially practical.”

The Foundations of Social Research

Marx retains Hegel’s central view of history: that the succession of societal forms and regimes we find in history also represents stages in our human self-understanding. Marx retains the concept of the dialectic, integral to Marx’s view of history, called dialectic materialism/historical materialism

The Foundations of Social Research

To recognize the dialectic is to recognize that realities are never isolated entities standing in a linear, causal relationship to one another. Dialectically, reality can only be understood as multifaceted interaction. Reality and thought are the bearers of contradiction, forever in conflict with itself. Each “stage” of society is a society essentially at war with itself.

The Foundations of Social Research

For Marx, this perennial antagonism within every form of society, comes to be encapsulated in the term ‘class struggle.’ The ultimate synthesis of this struggle emerging from the dialectic of thesis and antithesis, ala Hegel, is the culmination of a truly socialist or communist or classless society

The Foundations of Social Research

Driving this struggle/liberating process are the relations of production Production=mode of life, action of human beings on the world, dependent upon the material conditions. Means of production differ from era to era as do social relations created by means of production

The Foundations of Social Research

Over time the relationship between the forces of production and the corresponding social relations of production is an uneasy one. Eventually, new productive forces emerge and the social relations of production have to change in order to accommodate them. When this happens, society’s basic economic equilibrium shatters and new forms of social relations of production must be established.

The Foundations of Social Research

How does Marx characterize other factors and causes in societal evolution? What does he call them? How does he explain them? Hint: p. 120 What impact does the ruling economic class have on society according to Marx? Hint: p. 121 top What does this permeating rule do to the working class?

The Foundations of Social Research
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Marx’s concept of alienation The activity or process by which someone becomes a stranger to himself Economic alienation is at the root of any other form that alienation may take Work no longer belongs to the worker, what ought to be an expression of their very being becomes merely instrumental, a means of subsistence, therefore, the worker does not fulfil himself/herself in his/her work.

The Foundations of Social Research

The alienation of the thing: the relationship of the worker to the product of labor as an alien object which dominates him. Humans are also alienated from other humans. The proletariat must emancipate itself. Marxism after Marx?

The Foundations of Social Research

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Western Marxism switches focus to superstructures, culture rather than economic substructures The Frankfurt School Founder Felix Weil (Institute for Social Research) and Kurt Gerlach Inaugural director Carl Grunberg Marxism the starting point, but is the Frankfurt school really Marxist?

The Foundations of Social Research

What happened to the institute and its affiliates during World War II and the Nazi era? Where did they go? What happened to them? What did they do when they got there?

The Foundations of Social Research
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What is ‘critical theory’? Is it unified and coherent? Horkheimer attempts to define:

Traditional theory: theory that merely reflects the current situation v. Critical theory: theory that seeks to change the current situation Traditional theory is not wedded to practice because of its cartesian dualism of thought and being

The Foundations of Social Research

Philosophy and science must find a way to inform each other in dialectical fashion Adorno

Musicologist; wrote a lot about arts/aesthetics We substitute concepts for what they represent, but no concept can ever capture the richness of the reality. Objects do not go into their concepts without leaving a remainder.

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Adorno wants us to defend the irreducibility of non-conceptual material against the ravenous power of the concept. Negative dialectics: Philosophy must strive by way of the concept to transcend the concept and thus reach the nonconceptual Adorno: concerned with mimesis/mimetic or imitation Constellations (borrowed from Benjamin) rather than conceptual systems It is a temporary structure only, for negative dialectics means thinking in such a way that the thought form will no longer turn its objects into immutable ones, into objects that remain the same.

The Foundations of Social Research

Adorno is engaging in a phenomenological critique

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