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Critical Theory A Social Theory Essay

1690 words - 7 pages

“Critical Theory is a theory seeking emancipation and change in a dominant social order” (Baran & Davis, 2012). Critical theory is a social theory that deals with different aspects of society. It tends to critique cultures that include: media, advertising and consumer culture. Moreover, Critical theory is also used to study how education is dealt with using information technology and it also concentrates on social relationships that are social, political and economic. The critical theory is known to be one of the theories that have been defined in different ways by different theorists depending on how they understood the theory. This paper will mainly discuss the literature review of the Critical theory and how it can be applied to television. To be precise I will focus on analyzing or criticizing feminism in a television series known as “Sex and the City”. I chose to criticize feminism on a television series because I believe that this is a serious issue that is being debated all around the world today.

The origins of the Critical Theory trace back to one of the first schools of thought known as the Frankfurt School founded in Germany in 1923 by a group of neo-Marxist theorists, which include Max Horkeimer, Herbert Marcuse and Lowenthal Friedrich Pollock, Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin and Leo Lowenthal; these were some of the leading members of the institute and they were also the first generation of theorist. (Kellner, 1992), and one of the major contributors of this institute is Felix Weil; he was a German Marxist who was determined to introduce Marxist studies in Germany and his donations to the Frankfurt School of thought were very helpful in establishing the institute. A background in Marxist philosophy helped the Frankfurt School theorists improve their expertise in different areas that include history, philosophy, psychology and economics. (Tallack, 1995).

Critical theory was not widely known in the United States until the 1970’s, but the majority of it’s leading scholars were located in the US because in 1933 the Nazi decided to takeover and insisted that the institute closes down; the Frankfurt school then made the decision to move to Geneva temporarily and in 1935 to New York and finally settled down in Columbia University. After the settlement of the school in the US, Americans became more familiar with the theory and they had better access to it especially because translations were available for anyone who was interested and there were two journals, which were also useful, called New German Critique and Telos. (Antonio, 1983) The translations and the journals enabled them to fluently read and understand the Critical Theory.

Critical theory is a term that can be defined in various ways; different theorists define it depending on their own understanding of the theory. The Theorists at Frankfurt made sure to distinguish between critical theory and scientific theory; the differences are mainly in the aims and how they are being...

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