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The term ‘critical theory’ denotes both a definition as a specific approach to academic, intellectual, and political thought in Germany from the 1930s onwards (known since the 1960s as the ‘Frankfurt School’ and originating from the work of social theorists Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, and Jürgen Habermas), as well as a wider definition relating to a diverse and eclectic range of ways and methods of thinking critically and analytically. These definitions remain related in that they encompass a critique of the assumption that thought can operate as an objective, disinterested, fact-finding mission; instead, they understand thinking—including their own—always necessarily to be from specific perspectives, with particular investments and interests. Critical theorists, however, do not see this as resulting in a retreat ...

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