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Critical and Neo-Marxist Theory

The Frankfurt School The Ideas of Jurgen Habermas Gramscis Hegemony Wallertsteins Historical Marxism

Intellectual Roots
Early critical theorists drew on Marx (especially concept of alienation) Also influenced by ideas of Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud Emphasized link between macro-level processes such as culture and effects on individual psyche and consciousness

Frankfurt School (1923)


Ideas developed by Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Erich Fromm Two main ideas:
1. all ideas influenced by the current times and by prevailing thought patterns 2. cannot separate facts and values need to be self-reflexive and self-critical and develop a critical stance toward society

Frankfurt School (cont.)


Linked culture to personality formation
Looked at how ideology of capitalism and alienation warp the individual personality

Developed critique of mass cultur e


Noted use of popular culture to manipulate individuals Standardization of taste Distraction from real world Encourages passiveness

Jurgen Habermas (1929 - )


Studied philosophy In 1956 became Theodor Adornos assistant at Heidelberg Adorno wrote The Authoritarian Personality 1950: linked prejudice and anti-Semitism to authoritarianism Habermas became chair of philosophy at Frankfurt 1964

Habermas (cont.)
Put Marxs ideas into critical framework Shift from materialism to idealism Added Webers rationalization, Durkheims consensus, Parsons value generalization Emphasis on communicative action and the generation of ideology

Legitimation Crisis (1975)


Society developed through qualitatively different stages:
Primitive

Class Societies

Traditional Civilizations Modern Civilizations: Capitalist Liberal - Organized Capitalist Post-Capitalist


Post-Modern

Legitimation Crisis (cont.)


Marx said change developed out of contradictions in material base But Habermas says change occurs out of contradictions in ideas and how they are legitimated through norms and values Legitimation = new set of norms and values used to justify the system Consensus breakdown = societal crisis

Legitimation Crisis (cont.)


Traditional societies breakdown of religious norms and values led to idea of rational exchange between equals Early liberal capitalism doubts re: market ideology of led to organized capitalism Need for formal legitimations based on reason and rationality legitimation crisis occurs

Legitimation Crisis (cont.)


Legitimation part of socialization process in lifeworld through communicative action The norms we use to justify the truthfulness of our communicative acts are the same norms that are used to justify the system Change in legitimation system = change in lifeworld Increasing rationalization Necessitates consensus about norms (Durkheim) and value generalization (Parsons)

Reason and Rationality


Two types of action and rationalization: 1. purposive-rational action using meansend rationality 2. communicative action using reason First type used by capitalist system Now we need to move to second type

Communicative Action
Ideal speech = no barriers (i.e. coercion) Consensus about truth developed through communication process Ideal speech has 4 criteria: 1. understandability of utterances 2. truth of utterances 3. reliability and sincerity of speaker 4. authority (right to offer ideas)

Criticism of Habermas
Too idealistic Total consensus impossible Do all speakers have equal ability? How will conflict be handled?

Marxism and Neo-Marxism


Variants of Marxism:
Hegelian Marxism (Antonio Gramsci) Neo-Marxian Economic Theory (Braverman) Fordism and Post-Fordism Historical Marxism Analytical Marxism Post-Modern Marxian Theory (Laclau / Mouffe)

Gramsci and Hegemony


Italian Marxist Co-founder of Italian Marxist Party Analyzed political situation in Italy The Prison Notebooks 1929-1935 Cultural leadership and domination used by ruling party of a society Domination through ideology rather than force

Hegemony
Hegemony = uniting persuasion from above with consent from belowit is done by the dominant and collaborated in by the dominated Intellectuals need to ally selves with revolutionary party rather than ruling party to lead masses to power

Immanuel Wallerstein and World Systems Theory


Extension of Marxs historical materialism Looks at global historical change rather than societal historical change Two world systems so far: 1. World Empire - political and military domination 2. Modern Capitalist World Economy - global economic division of labour

Modern Capitalist World Economy


1. Core countries -Exploit rest of system - free labour market skilled and supervisory 2. Semi Periphery - has industry set up by core - sharecropping 3. Periphery - provide raw materials and labour for core

Future World System


Socialist world government All labour will be free labour