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SOC 3310 Study Guide - Endangerment, Industrialisation, Herbert Marcuse

Course Code
SOC 3310
Reza Barmaki

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Introduction- Critical Theory
Critical theory is the name given to that school of thought that emerged from the
writing of the members of Frankfurt school, among them T.W Adorno, Max
Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse and Fredrich Pollok
ď‚· German intellectuals
ď‚· Institute for social research at the university of Frankfurt
ď‚· Drawn together by a common interest in Marxism one and its relevance to a
world dominated by Stalinism in the East and by emerging Fascism in Europe
Critical theory was distinguished from traditional, i.e., scientific social, theory by its
commitment to a moral concept of progress and emancipation that would form the
foundation for all its studies
Multidisciplinary approach drawing upon psychology sociology, economics and
politics to develop its unique standpoint and it was committed finally to the idea
that knowledge should be pit to use to achieve a just and democratic social
JĂĽrgen Habermas is the most prominent second-generation critical theorist
- The major focus of Habermans work is the survival of democracy in a world
that is increasingly transformed by science and technology
- Engages the great thinkers of the classical tradition in a reconstructive
dialogue in which he develops and creates new formulations
- Faithful to the emancipatory project of Marx yet mindful of the
rationalization thesis developed by weber and his project is to demonstrate
how and why the iron cage need not be our destiny in spit of the fact that the
rationalization process continues
- It is his intention to demonstrate how effective social change in the direction
of a substantively just democratic order is possible in the absence of the
proletariat as a revolutionary force
- View the integrative needs of the social system do not entail the absorption
and direction of the life-world. The mode of communication in the life world
preserves conceptions of justice and freedom, even as these values are
leached from the vocabulary of technocratic elites whole language is wholly
couched in the instrumental terms of cost benefit analysis
- As the social system evolves in its political and economic institutions in the
direction of greater efficiency, predictability, coordination and control, the
life world evolves in the direction of greater reflectivity and more
understanding of the common fate of all peoples
Marcuse view on social movements were a sign of great hope for the future of
advanced industrial society because they demonstrated contrary to his own
pessimistic formulation in One Dimensional Man that there were extant sources of
negativity and resistance to the new forms of social control he saw enveloping
American society

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- Gave full and populate expression to the idea of dialectical thinking and
demonstrated its continuing relevance as a mode of social analysis his
analysis extends Weber’s idea od rationalization by employing the concept of
technological rationality
- Modern society=iron cage
- Rationalization process not only manifested itself in the rational behaviour of
individuals in bureaucratic settings but also referred to their method
- Instrumental rationality a calculating and means oriented mode of thought
has gradually come to replace substantive rationality or thought dealing with
morality, with the validity of the ends of action
- Advanced industrial society has become a society without opposition
dominated by “technological rationality”
- Rejects traditional Marxist formulations on the sources of conflict in the class
structure of capitalism; no longer the negation of capitalism, the working
class has become its vocal supporter and defender
- Society appears open and tolerant but s closed to fundamental criticism and
radical change
- Advanced industrial society is capable of absorbing all manner of dissent by
co-opting the dissenters and using their platforms for political or commercial
Herbert Marcuse: One Dimensional Man
The paralysis of criticism: society without opposition
- The efforts to prevent such a catastrophe overshadow the search for its
potential causes in contemporary industrial society. These causes remain
unidentified, unexposed, unattacked by the public because they recede
before the all too obvious threat from without
- We submit to the peaceful production of the means of destruction to the
perfection of waste, to being educated for a defense, which deforms the
defenders and that which they defend
- If we attempt to relate the causes of the danger to the way in which society is
organized and organizes its members, we are immediately confronted with
the fact tat advanced industrial society become richer, bigger, and better as it
perpetuate the danger
- Defense structure makes like easier for a greater number of people and
extends mans mastery of nature
- Our mass media have little difficulty in selling particular interests as those of
all sensible men
- The political needs of society become individual needs and aspirations, their
satisfaction promotes business and the commonweal, and the whole appears
to be the very embodiment of reason
- Society is irrational as a whole, its productivity is destructive of the free
development of human needs and faculties, its peace maintained by the
constant threat of war, its growth dependent on the repression of the real
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