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From Critical Theory to Postmodernism – Foucault, Horkheimer and Adorno

Readings for this module.

Critical Theory and The Frankfurt School

Credit : The Frankfurt School facebook page.

The narrow sense of “Critical Theory” was coined by a group of  German philosophers and social theorists known as “the Frankfurt School”. This began with Horkheimer and Adorno and stretched to Marcuse and Habermas. They distinguished “critical”  from “traditional” theory saying that a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human emancipation, “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them” (Horkheimer 1982, 244). In a broader sense critical theories aim to explain  all the circumstances that enslave humans. This group of thinkers is still active today.