Critical Theory

Dr.R.Murali Head, Dept.of Philosophy The Madura College(Autonomus)


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


Critical Theory

The meaning of critical theory is that of theory used in literary criticism ("critical theory") and in the analysis and understanding of literature.
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 This form of critical theory is not necessarily oriented toward radical social change or even toward the analysis of society, but instead specializes on the analysis of texts.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 ―A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellencies than imperfections, to discover the concealed beauties of a writer, and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation."  This notion of criticism ultimately goes back to Aristotle's Poetics as a theory of literature
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 This meaning of "critical theory" originated entirely within the humanities.  There are works of literary critical theory that show no awareness of the sociological version of critical theory.  a certain amount of overlap has come about, initiated both from the critical social theory and the literary-critical theory sides
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 It originated among literary scholars and in the discipline of literature in the 1960s and 1970s.  It has come into broad use since the 1980s.  Theory used in literary studies has increasingly been influenced by European philosophy and social theory.
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 From the literary side, starting in the 1960s literary scholars, reacting especially against the New Criticism of the previous decades.  Critics began to incorporate into their analyses and interpretations of literary works initially semiotic, linguistic and interpretive theory, then structuralism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and deconstruction as well as continental philosophy especially phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical social theory and various other forms of neo-Marxian theory.
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 Thus literary criticism became highly theoretical and some of those practicing it began referring to the theoretical dimension of their work as "critical theory", i.e. philosophically inspired theory of literary criticism.
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 And thus incidentally critical theory in the sociological sense also became, especially among literary scholars of left-wing sympathies, one of a number of influences upon and streams within critical theory in the literary sense.
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Hegel:  Hegel (1770-1831) is the most important transitional figure linking Kant‘s critical philosophy and Marx‘s critical social theory. His major contribution to critical thought consists of his claim that reason is an objective historical force, which must be conceived dynamically or developmentally.
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G.W.F. Hegel
 Hegel sought to free human agents from the coercive illusions that inhibit their capacities for free thought and action.  Also free them from the forms of social life within which those coercive illusions thrive and find expression.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


G.W.F. Hegel
 Dependent on the assumption that humans are driven by a powerful interest in freedom, Hegel believes that the individual and species aim at liberation from a system of constraints.
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G.W.F. Hegel
 For Hegel, the nature of being is characterized by the subject continuously creating, negating, and recreating itself and its object world.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 Hegel‘s important contribution to Critical Theory consists conceiving reason as institutionalized social practice and living dialectic.  To Hegel, reason is an objective historical force functioning through the human beings.  Hegel wanted to show that reason should not be reduced to certain functions innate in every person.
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Karl Marx in his Critique of Political

Economy, felt that reason couldn‘t
determine the ideas, instead, the social

forces decide.
 Karl Marx mercilessly branded the young Hegelianism as the German Ideology.
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 Antonio (as cited in Delaney, 1983) said that ―critical theory is based on the meta-assumptions that derive from Hegel‘s dialectics, however modified by Marx‘s materialist critique


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 Marx radicalized the Critique of Reason, as undertaken by Kant and Hegel, by showing how ideas were themselves ideological manifestations of real socio economic forces.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 In particular, he showed that they reflected apolitically changed, classbased content.  In effect, this amounts to transforming philosophy into social science and idealist critique of knowledge into materialistic of knowledge in terms of Critique of
Political Economy.
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 In capitalism, the contradictions between individual and community, freedom and necessity, morality and science all boil down to the principle of private property.
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 Production is social, but consumption is private. Hence Marx stresses that the critique of reason must move beyond philosophy and became scientific critique of political economy
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MaxWeber  According to Weber, the prime characteristic of the world we are living is rationalization.  It is widened sphere of action, rational in relation to goals. Economic enterprises are governed by this rationality.
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The control of the state by bureaucracy is also governed by rationality. In short, society as whole tends towards a rational organization
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 Weber accepted bureaucratization and rationalisation as almost inescapable fate of modern society.

 The methodological implications of
Weber‘s combined idealist

materialist approach played an
important role in the Frankfurt school‘s attempt to formulate a scientific method of ideology critique.
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 Furthermore, along with the expansion of the mass media and mass/popular culture in the 1960s and 1970s and the blending of social and cultural criticism and literary criticism, the methods of both kinds of critical theory sometimes intertwined in the analysis of phenomena of popular culture, as in the emerging field of cultural studies.  Concepts derived from Marxian theory, poststructuralism, semiology, psychoanalysis and feminist theory.  Often present in the various modalities of postmodern theory.
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 It was to some extent a theory of literature and a method of literary criticism (as in Walter Benjamin's interpretation of Baudelaire and Kafka, Leo Lowenthal's interpretations of Shakespeare, Ibsen, etc., Adorno's interpretations of Kafka, Valery, Balzac, Beckett, etc.) and in the 1960s started to influence the literary sort of critical theory.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


Nevertheless, a certain amount of overlap has come about, initiated both from the critical social theory and the literary-critical theory sides.
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Critical Social Theory and Frankfurt School

 Against this background it is quite interesting to understand the Critical Social Theory of Frankfurt School.  The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School is a critique of Capitalism
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Introduction to Critical Theory

 It is against ….  The Surplus Value of the collective &  Commodification of every aspect of modern society.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


Critical Theory……….

 It provides understanding about present social conditions, how these conditions evolved, how they are transformed, how they are transformed, how they interact with each other, what laws govern their transformation and how they maintain their validity.
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Traditional Theory  The traditional theory‘s Chief aim and justification is in providing technically useful knowledge for the purposes of domination.  In contrast to this theory, critical theory reflects on ideas in order reveal their ideological function in maintaining the system.
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Critical Theory…….

 In unmasking the ideology, critical theory dissolves the constraints imposed by false consciousness.

 It aims at emancipation.
 This applies to all domains of culture including the scientific production of knowledge itself.
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 Critical Theory is like other forms of
social and political philosophy in that

it reflects on the basic meaning of
social and political life in order to

discover universal standards of
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 Its primary aim is not the discovery of statistical patterns enabling the prediction and technical control of social

and political processes but the proffering
of critical enlightenment regarding the

justness and goodness of social and
political institutions.
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 The interdisciplinary synthesis
of social science and social philosophy is the distinctive trademark of critical social theory.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 Critical Theory aims at
enlightening people regarding their rational interests in creating just and happy society.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 Critical Theorists, the problem of rationality is problematic.

 For one thing ‗ rationality‘ is both descriptive and evaluative in the same way that ―humanity‘ is both descriptive and evaluative in the same way that ‗humanity‘ and ‗democracy‘ are.
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 Beginning in the late renaissance and continuing through the eighteenth century of a period known as enlightenment – rational forms of thinking and conduct began to take hold science, jurisprudence, government and public morality standards of logical consistency.
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 Deductive reasoning that had existed since antiquity began to play a more important role in the codification of laws and construction of scientific and philosophical theories.
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 Reason began to replace religion as the chief guide to public morality.
 The emphasis is on greater moral autonomy.

 Lent impetus to political reforms which ensured individual rights and democratic self determination.
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 Critical theorists say that the modern
welfare State has lulled people into abdicating moral responsibility for the direction of society by plying them with material goods.

 Absorbed in their private lives, people
are only too willing to let bureaucrats and powerful business men do their thinking for them.
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Critical Theory:

What must a just society be like in order for individuals to affirm their autonomy in relations of solidarity?
How must a democratic society be structured so as to approximate a felicitates balance of material well-being, negative individual freedom, communal identity and equality?
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And who will be the new wave
of revolutionaries that will bring this change about? If neither current forms of capitalism nor current forms of

socialism satisfy our rational
expectations for justice and

happiness are there any
practical alternatives that will?
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FRANKFURT SCHOOL In 1937, the journal of Frankfurt based

Institute for Social Research published a
programmatic essay by its chief editor and director Max Hokeheimer, enabled ‗Traditional and Critical Theory‘.

From That moment on critical theory has designated a school of thought known by many as simply the Frankfurt School
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Institute for Social Research
 First Marxist-oriented research school in Europe  Members attempted to revise Marx‘s critique of capitalism and idea that revolution was the best way to change social and political structures.  As a result, these social thinkers developed a ―critical theory‖ of society.
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 Marxism was made the inspiration and theoretical basis of the institute‘s program  Under Grunberg the approach was a more scientific Marxism, but was abandoned when Max Horkheimer took control of the Institute in 1930


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


Institute for Social Research
 Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, and others who tried to study the power of the masses were put under restraints by Hitler‘s ascent to power.  Anti-Semitism was increasingly evident during the 1930‘s in Germany, and the Jewish members of the institute were forced into exile.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 The Institute then moved to Columbia University, in 1934, right into the heart of capitalism in New York City.  Keep it in mind that this was the ―Revolutionary and Marxist‖ Institute.
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Critical Theory
 Specific theorists associated with critical theory construction:
    G.W.F. Hegel George Lukacs Max Horkheimer Theodor Adorno

 Seen as most important scholars who directly influenced the intellectual development of critical theory and subsequent work by Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas
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 The main tasks of the school to this day:
 To critique scientific knowledge and rationality from the standpoint of social theory proffering ‗moral‘ enlightenment and to critique capitalist society as a crisis-laden system frustrating human freedom and fulfillment
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 To promote a diversified education for all individuals in order to steer them away from over-specialization.

 This will create individuals with strong mental faculties who will be able to think critically about the forces that affect their daily lives.
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 To help steer humanity away from alternative future.  To create a social balance between the personal autonomy of the individual and universal solidarity of the collective.  To promote revolution against all forms of fascism and


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


 To promote revolution against all forms of discrimination including those based on sex, sexual orientation, race and religious belief.
 To preserve the good moral values that promote universal solidarity and will help to bring about a more just, humane, rational, and reconciled society.
Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali



Time for a....

Stretch Break!


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


George Lukacs

 Lukacs was part of the early Frankfurt School.  He had come to emphasize the importance Marx placed on the fetishism of commodities, a condition caused when the worker assumes that the commodity produced has an objective quality of its own, rather than realizing the commodity is a result of the worker‘s labor.
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Interpreted Marxism as a dialectical critique of reification and therefore placed the problem of ideology in the spotlight.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


George Lukacs
 Lukacs blended Marx‘s ideas of fetishism of commodities with Weber‘s belief that rationality is penetrating more spheres of modern life.  With those sentiments, he believed that as traditional societies change, ―there is less reliance on moral standards and processes of communication to achieve society integration; instead, there is more use of money, markets, and rational calculations.  As a result, relations are coordinated by exchange values and by people‘s perceptions of one another as ―things‖
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Max Horkheimer (18951973)

 For Horkheimer, society was a totality which is ―continuously restructuring itself.‖  The idea of a social absolute—a complete or perfect state of social phenomena—is criticized. All factors in the total societal process are held to be in ―the process of movement,‖ including the relation of ‗parts to whole.‖
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Max Horkheimer (18951973)

 In 1937, Horkheimer‘s essay ―Traditional and Critical Theory‖ constitutes the institute‘s basic manifesto of its theoretical stand and at the same time distinguishes itself from the ideas of Mannheim.
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 In this essay, Horkheimer emphasized a dialectical reinterpretation of Marx‘s critique of political economy as providing the basic analytical framework for the development of critical theory
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Max Horkheimer (18951973)
 Even though during the early 1940‘s the Frankfurt School‘s critical theory of society would begin to undergo changes, Horkheimer maintained his ideas.  He thought that there are no general criteria for critical theory as a whole, for such criteria always depend on a repetition of events and thus on a selfreproducing totality.
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Max Horkheimer (18951973)
 Maintained that there is a hiatus between concept and object, and between word and thing. These concepts are interdependent but irreducible aspects of the total societal process.  Thus, critical theory aims to assess ―the breach between ideas and reality.‖  The method of procedure is immanent criticism.
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Horkheimer and Adorno:

Horkheimer and Adorno take Lukacs and believed that a capitalist society, along the lines of formal rationality

would find its critical limit in the
practice of a proletariat, last refuge of a substantive dialectical form of rationality.
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 The science is conditioned by the bourgeois world.  Traditional theory believes that the detached perception of

observation is possible.
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 Horkheimer found this more problematic. Horkheimer claims that there is no such thing called detached observer.  Observer of the perceived cannot be detached Every object that we know has a history of its own.
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 It is not an entity to be isolated from socio-economic background. The perceiver also has the background of

his/her won. So he felt that it is
wrong to think that knowledge is the result of passive neutral detached observation.
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 Critical Theorists were looking for some sort of guidance regarding the mystery of human behaviour.  Marx had no inkling to the subtle psychological dynamics informing its tenacious hold on the masses. In order to remedy this deficiency, the critical theorists turned to Freud.
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 To Freud, major social problems cannot be solved through philosophical deflections. There fore, he said that the determinants of social problems.
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Erich Fromm
 Erich Fromm who was the member of Frankfurt Scholl was profoundly influenced by Sigmund Freud.
 But he deviated from psycho analysis. He was attracted by Marxian theory of valuation.
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 Though he has appreciated
Freud, he has also criticized him for his a historical dimension of

developmental theory.
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Theodor Wiesengrund-Adorno

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Theodor Adorno - - - - - A man of Jewish descent, while the Frankfurt School was in exile in the United States, Adorno dropped the Wiesengrund part of his name because “there were too many jewish-sounding names on the roster”  Completed his thesis on Husserl’s phenomenology at University of Frankfurt.

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Theodor Adorno - - - - - 

Attempted to establish a “critical social consciousness” especially in terms of how a philosophy expresses the structure of society. Believed that art expresses social contradictions and antinomies in a mediated form, and so, too, philosophy embodies similar objective structures. Just as art performs and pieces of art involve critical perspectives, so could particular philosophies.
Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali



Theodor Adorno - - - - - 

His goal was to show how the history of mind— which he conceived of as the attempt of the subject to gain distance from the object— continually reveals the “superiority of objectivity” Argued that objects exist for us through conceptuality. Adorno was also pessimistic about the chances of critical theory’s making great changes in society.
Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali



Theodor Adorno - - - - - 

Adorno was against the idea that critical theory should merely criticize one point of view in favor of another. Further, attacking someone else’s position as relative does not prove that one’s own position is any less relative. Adorno and Horkheimer shared many ideas and collaborated on a number of works. Adorno was more philosophical but also more researchoriented than Horkheimer.
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Herbert Marcuse


Critical Theory (1898-1979) Dr.R.Murali


Studied with philosophers: Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Marcuse became a member of the institute by recommendation of Husserl in 1933. Marcuse thought, for the rest of his life, that Heidegger was the best teacher he had ever encountered....just like Dr. Sapp. Later, as most people of Jewish descent in the institute, Marcuse fled Germany and ended up in New York City, NY.
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He would eventually teach at the University of California. He gained world status during the 1960’s as a philosopher, social theorist, and political activist. Through his writings and media exposure he became the father of the New Left. He tirelessly propagated his critiques of contemporary society and demands for radical social change and attracted a group of devoted followers.
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Marcuse shared Adorno’s concern about the critique and transcendence of reification and fetishism. Similar to Horkheimer, he stressed the unconcluded nature of the dialectic, a potential in humans yet to be realized, the centrality of human practice in the constitution. Despite these overlaps there are major differences in their writings as well.
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He constantly attempted to examine, defend, and reconstruct the Marxist enterprise. He was preoccupied by the fate of revolution, the potentiality for socialism, and the defense of utopian objectives. The goals of his critical approach to society are the emancipation of consciousness, the nurturing of a decentralized political movement, and the reconciliation of humanity and nature.
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Marcuse’s Critical Theory (CT)
While Marcuse never defined CT, he used abstractions; critical theory is a process of “bringing to consciousness potentialities that have emerged within the maturing historical situation.” Marcuse’s CT was influenced by Hegel and Marx. Marcuse placed great value on reason. Marcuse said if things in themselves are beyond the capacity of reason, reason will remain a mere subjective principle without relevance to the objective structure of reality
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Marcuse’s Critical Theory (CT)
Like all first generation critical theorists, Marcuse was heavily influenced by Marx. He insisted that the primary inspiration and source of critical theory comes from Marx. Marcuse, being an astute student of German philosophy, reviewed and revised many of Marx’s concepts to in effect “grow” Marx’s thoughts. His work allowed a theoretical project seeking to comprehend and transform contemporary society.
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Marcuse’s Critical Theory (CT)
Marcuse said that CT of society is linked with materialism because society is an economic, not philosophical, system. He praised Marxist materialism because “Marxist materialism both envisaged a contrast between what man happens to be at the moment and what could become...” Combining Hegel and Marx, Marcuse concluded that history is the arena in which humans seek the freedom to manifest universal rationality. Marcuse agreed with Marx, that both the material and ideal coexist with neither having priority over the other.
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Marcuse’s Critical Theory (CT)
Marcuse’s CT had roots in Marxism, as did most CT’s, but his reconstruction of it lead to the uniqueness of Marcuse’s thinking. For Marcuse, Marxism is a method of analysis and instrument of critique and social transformation and is not a dogma or system of absolute knowledge.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


Technological Rationality
Weber had pointed out that Western society had come to be dominated by science and the “iron cage” of bureaucracy. Marcuse argued that modern industrial society was dominated by a technological rationality, with the working middle class as its vocal supporter and defender. Marx’s theories never had the foresight to see the benefits of the middle class; The workers of industrial societies enjoy benefits that were never realized at any other time in history.
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Technological Rationality
Technology created affluence, and this freedom from material want led to a relatively happy and materialistically satisfied middle class. When workers are satisfied, their reasons for dissent and protest are eliminated and they become passive members of the dominating system. Marcuse made two claims from this:
 

First, the worker was suffering from class consciousness, and Second, the workers should not be happy with material satsifaction, but should strive for some unidentified (by Marcuse) nonmaterial satisfaction.

Marcuse obviously ignored the fact that the history of humankind is the pursuit of material success.
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Technological Rationality
He insisted that modern industrial society produces a “surplus repression” by imposing socially unnecessary labor, unnecessary restrictions on sexuality, and a social system organized around profit and exploitation. Technology, mass media, popular culture, and leisure systems are all guilty of being modes of thought that reify the existing social structures.
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The New Left
Marcuse’s Essays of Liberation (1969) praised the work of such diverse radical groups as the hippies and Vietcong sympathizers. Because of his radical views, Marcuse would end up teaching at the University of California at La Jolla where he would remain until retirement. His writing were a perfect match for his place and time. The 1960’s provided a breeding ground for new generation of idealistic radicals.
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The New Left
With a small voice in society, the radicals didn’t have a chance to take a dominant stance Marcuse, however, used the 1960’s as a platform to speak across the world to all the radicals that remained. Marcuse effectively used the media to spread the word of Marxian theory, revolutionary vision, and libertarian socialism—ideals he remained committed to until his death.
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Revolution, per Marxist tradition in thought, is necessary to free humans from the negative grip of capitalism.
Marcuse proposed a global revolution where capitalism is replaced by socialism.
Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali



He claimed that the character of the revolutionaries would be at two opposite ends of a social spectrum: the ghetto population and the middle-class inteligentsia, most especially students.  These two groups do not make up the majority of society, and Marcuse recognized that they would face hostility and resentment from organized labor and corporate entities. Marcuse was concerned that the opposition to revolutionaries would deflate any of their chances—Knowing this should be enough to solidify and help prevent this from happening as it was their only hope.
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The Sexual Revolution
Marcuse was in big favor of sexual revolution because it was a type revolution against oppressive forces. Another reason was that freedom to make any sexual choice allowed people happiness, a sentiment of Marx’s thought that people should be able to reach their own (self-realized) full potential. Marcuse was against those who placed restrictions on people’s sexuality because of religious beliefs. His views were the same on those who invaded individual privacy and rights.
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The Sexual Revolution
Marcuse believes that any act of sexuality, whether in public, private, on or off-stage, is an expression of freedom, as long as it is permitted. Marcuse condemned the bourgeois era as an attempt to isolate individuals from their natural drives. While differing from Hegel and Marx, he aligns with Freud in believing that in order for people to reach their full potential, they must also be happy.
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“We witness not only the political but also,

and primarily, the artistic attack on Art in all its forms, on Art as Form itself. The distance and dissociation of Art from reality are denied, refused, and destroyed; if Art is still anything at all, it must be real, part and parcel of life-but of a life which is itself the conscious negation of the established way of life, with all its institutions, with its entire material and intellectual culture, its entire immoral morality, its required and its clandestine behavior, its work and its fun”.-Marcuse
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“This central idea of classical aesthetics invokes the sensibility as well as the rationality of man, pleasure principle and reality principle: the work of art is to appeal tothe senses, to satisfy sensuous needsbut in a highly sublimated manner.Art is to have a reconciling, a tranquilizing, and a cognitive function, to be beautiful and true. The beautiful was to lead to the truth: in the beautiful, a truth was supposed to appear that did not, and could not, appear in any other form.”
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Art- A political force
“Art comes to join the struggle against the powers that be, mental and physical, the struggle against domination and repression in other words, Art, by virtue of its own internal dynamic, is to become a political force. It refuses to be for the museum or mausoleum, for the exhibitions of a no longer existing aristocracy, for the holiday of the soul and the elevation of the masses; it wants to be real”.
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Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, Marcuse was one of the most influential radical theorists. Since his death in 1979, Marcuse’s influence has been steadily declining.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


JURGEN HABERMAS Habermas is the most distinguished philosopher of the Frankfurt School. He has relaunched the project of critical theory inaugurated by Horkheimer, Adorno and Marcuse in Germany in the late twenties and thirties.
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From his mentors, Habermas inherited the view that the Marxists critique of capitalism need to be revised and readapted to the radically altered conditions of modern technological society.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


While traditional Marxism had found on the economic control of the means of production, Habermas switched the emphasis to ideological control of the means of communication.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


Instead of grounding critical theory in universal human interests, who regulate the acquisition of scientific knowledge, Habermas’s approach articulates moral practical competencies rooted in everyday communication. The most distinctive feature of Habermas’s recent work has been his attempt to develop communicative ethic. This ethic performs several critical functions.
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Habermas feels that the critical

theory is one sided in focusing
exclusively on the questions of freedom and justice.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


In acknowledging the one-sidedness of critical theory that focuses exclusively on questions of individual freedom and social justice, Habermas has begun to take seriously the idea of happy society in which moral consideration, such as individual freedom and social justice are balanced in a non compromised way with desire for material prosperity and its presupposition.
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In Habermas’s opinion Critical Theory should be more concerned about the imbalances in the social rationalizations than about ideology. This is not to deny the importance of ideology critique. However it is his belief that ideology would naturally diminish if communicative rationality were cultivated to the greatest extent possible.
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Habermas no longer regards ideology critique as the principal tasks of critical theory. This is not because ideology has disappeared, but because the most effective way of enlightening people about it involves helping them develop a greater aptitude for critical reflection. Yet they are unlikely to develop this aptitude so long as communicative rationality remains uncultivated in the public sphere.
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The failure of communicative rationality to take root in the public sphere. The failure of communicative rationality to take root in the public sphere, however, is due to impoverishment of culture, caused by the splitting off of specialized discourses, and the colonization of the life world, caused by the hypertension of economic and administrative system.
Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali



Defining Critical Theory (CT)
CT offers a multidisciplinary approach to society which combines perspectives drawn from political economy, sociology, cultural theory, philosophy, anthropology, and history. It can then overcome the fragmentation endemic to established academic disciplines in order to address issues of broader interest. While critical theory is always subject to change, it still has a foundation laid by the dialectical tradition of Hegel and Marx.
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Defining CT by Held (as cited in

Held argued that there are six Marxian tenets associated with CT:  We live in a society dominated by the capitalist mode of production, and a society based on exchange of principles of value and profit.  The commodity character of products is not simply determined by their exchange, but by their being abstractly exchanged (through labor).
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Critique of Capitalism……

Capitalist society ensures fetishism and reification Capitalism is not a harmonious social world. Contradictions between socially generated illusions (ideology) and actuality (performance, effects) lead to potential crisis.
Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali



Free market and mass production:

The free market is progressively replaced by the oligarchies and monopolistic mass production of standardized goods. The progressive rise in the organic composition of capital—the amount of fixed capital per worker—exacerbates the inherently unstable accumulation process. In order to sustain this process, its protagonists utilize all means available—including imperialist expansion and war.
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Defining Critical Theory (CT)

Critical theorizing involves a critical assessment of capitalism, disparages the optimism of the Enlightenment, and views the use of science for constructing a better society as naïve, illusional, or even harmful. Most critical theorists see “objective” science as an extension of capitalism. “Postmodern” society is also viewed negatively
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Defining Critical Theory (CT)
Critical theorists assume that dominant political and social interests shape the development of science and technology and their belief that science and technology is not fully neutral with respect to human values because they inevitably mediate social relations. In other words, science and technology possess ideological implications.
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So what to do?
The ultimate end of analysis is, first and foremost, a deeper understanding and a fuller appreciation of the literature -- you learn to see more, to uncover or create richer, denser, more interesting meanings.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


It was distinctive of the Frankfurt School's version of critical theory from the beginning, especially in the work of Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, and Leo Lowenthal, because of their focus on the role of false consciousness and ideology in the perpetuation of capitalism, to analyze works of culture, including literature, music, art, both "high culture" and "popular culture" or "mass culture."
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Analysis should also teach us to be aware of the cultural delineations of a work, its ideological aspects. Art is not eternal and timeless but is situated historically, socially, intellectually, written and read at particular times, with particular intents, under particular historical conditions, with particular cultural, personal, gender, racial, class and other perspectives. Through art we can see ideology in operation. This can be of particular use in understanding our own culture and time, but has historical applications as well. But Critical theory warns you to be aware of the Ideology. Because it emphasizes the ideology critique.
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Critical theory is not only applicable to hardcore theories of philosophy, but very much applicable to all forms of art and literature. Hence, Critical theoretical approach would make the critic to estimate the quality of any artistic creation in a given social context. Whatever the purpose of the creation of literature, they can never be isolated from the social context. If neglected.. Critical theory helps to remove the mask and see the hidden agenda.
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Worshiping the farce creators and their works lead to socio-political implications. Critical appraisal with the help of suitable tools will definitely help us to identify the hidden ideology of any literature. Any text whether the author dies after its creation or not, the contextuality of the text will live for ever. Understanding the genuinity of the text is the essential aspect of any reader.


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


The philosophical position of critical theorist would be very helpful in the globalized context to understand any art. Its not just creation of an individual. It’s a creative product of the creator produced through his dialectical relationship between the world and himself.
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Critical Theory which has strong roots in socio-political theories would definitely benefit the critics of literature and help them to find out the genuine creations.
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Thank you


Critical Theory Dr.R.Murali


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