Sunday, March 8, 2009

Critical Theory

What kind of "free" are you? After reading Horkheimer and Marcuse, it is fitting that we question how free we are and what is the nature of that freedom….

Critical theory presents us with the notion that we have all been seduced by attractive and powerful cultural and intellectual institutions, particularly as they are facilitated by political-economic forces. I especially like how critical theorists link positivism and the uses of social science/practice to our delusions of freedom. When I read these chapters, I thought of a 1982 piece by Josef Bleicher, where he outlined very carefully how the evolution of science is connected to the "bourgeoisie." He writes: "Science acquired its social significance in the context of the rise of that stratus of society that had most to gain from it in political and economic terms: the bourgeoisie." Clearly, Bleicher extended the line of thinking put forward by Horkheimer and Marcuse. Do you agree that science and the practice of social science have been/are a tool of the powerful elite?

Bleicher, J. (1982). The hermeneutic imagination: Outline of a positive critique of scientism and sociology. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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