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The Figure of Crisis in Critical Theory
The Figure of Crisis in Critical Theory
Amy Chun Kim

Critical theory as originally conceived by Adorno and Horkheimer was charged with exposing the ‘fundamental contradictions’ of capitalism in the face of potentially historically irreversible defeats of the workers’ movement in the West. In this chapter, I will explore the shifting role envisioned for critical theory, understood as an analysis of post-liberal forms of capitalism, across several periods, from the rise of fascism to the current phase of world economic turbulence. I identify three key moments in the history of critical theory: (1) Adorno and Horkheimer’s departure from the traditional Marxist category of practice in their analysis of fascism and post-fascist democracy; (2) Habermas’s ...

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