Critical Theory

Critical Theory

  • Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Readings

‘The critical theory of the Frankfurt School continues to be an important influence on many disciplines, ranging from philosophy and social theory to cultural studies and art history. David Rasmussen has collected key classical texts that provide introductions, overviews, and critical interrogations of dominant theorists and positions of the Frankfurt School.

This is a valuable resource that students of contemporary theory should find of use and import’

Professor Doug Kellner

George F. Kneller Philosophy of Education Chair, Social Sciences and Comparative Education, UCLA

This is a major assessment of the Frankfurt School and of Critical Theory. Volume I looks at the origins of the School in the 1920's through to the 1940's focussing on the key themes — the critique of German idealism, reading of Marx, use of the ...

Editors' Introduction

DavidRasmussen and JamesSwindal

Volume I: Historical Perspectives
General Historical Background

To give a general historical background to critical theory, we begin with selections from three significant books on critical theory and two essays on aspects and evaluations of it. Rolf Wiggershaus's introduction to his monumental The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories and Political Significance, suggests that the terms ‘Frankfurt School’ and ‘critical theory’ are more than simply ‘paradigms of social science’'. These terms evoke the historical memories of the early 20th century debates over the academic significance of Marxism, the student movements of the 1960s, and the critique of the Third Reich. At best it could be defined as a ‘school’ with certain characteristics that were recognized when journalists coined the term ‘Frankfurt School’, an acronym ...

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