4 thoughts on “On Critical Theory

  1. Davide G. Colasanto

    I think that the link you posted offers a good definition of critical theory but for me it restricts the understanding of critical theory mainly to a few categories (race, gender, class, etc.).

    Critical theory works on a much broader scope. It can be understood as a constant inquiry driven by the principle of critique.
    First of all, there are no certain truths and no universal categories. Even concepts like human nature or reason are not historically fixed, they are different interpretations of the world constructed in a particular place and period. Quoting M. Foucault: history can be summarized as “a series of discontinuous interpretative shifts.”

    So, what critical theory does is a constant critique of our assumptions. And this is obviously an uncomfortable move because it breaks our certainties.
    Nevertheless, critical theory is not just an exercise of high theory. On the contrary, good critical theory is driven by an ethical purpose: change.
    In other words, it shows how things don’t have to be the way they are.
    By reconsidering our common sense, our supposedly universal categories, we can understand what other alternatives are left over, and what can be changed for a better present and future.

    Even though this article is mainly focused on the practice of history, it provides an understanding of critical theory in general: http://www.micheleleigh.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/History-writing-as-critique.pdf

    1. Lisa Hirschfield

      You’ve provided such a clear, concise description. What I like most is that it describes CT as a particular relationship to a subject or idea, rather than an opinion about it.

    2. Oksana

      Thank you both Ana Stasiya and Davide!
      I have to admit i imagined a woman in her slippers having read the passage (could not tell/did not think of a race) and first agreed with the explanation provided, but Davide’s contribution enriched and extended the theory.

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