Marketing_Critical_Theory.pdf - New Political Science Volume 25 Number 3 September 2003 REVIEW ESSAY Marketing Critical Theory Joseph Heath

Marketing_Critical_Theory.pdf - New Political Science...

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New Political Science, Volume 25, Number 3, September 2003REVIEW ESSAYMarketing Critical TheoryJoseph Heath,Communicative Action and Rational Choice, Cambridge: MIT Press,2001, 363vi pp.The idea of an encounter between critical theory and rational choice seemsimprobable. While critical theorists have supported the integration of philoso-phy and social science, they have generally opposed the use of natural scientific,behaviorist, or positivist explanations of human action,1such as those found inthe comprehensive rational choice program. Critical theorists also rejected theatomism of rational choice, its inability to account for central aspects of the socialworld, and the market assumptions inherent in economic models of politics. Nordid the rise of Analytical Marxism (G. A Cohen, John Roemer, Eric Olin Wrightand Jon Elster), which draws heavily on rational choice theory, meet withenthusiasm.2Critical theorists think this approach leaves out the crucial areassuch as (inter)subjectivity, freedom, self-transformation and critical reflection.1Max Horkheimer’s original research program for critical theory foresaw a fusion ofphilosophy and social science. See “The Present Situation of Social Philosophy and the Tasksof an Institute of Social Research,” inBetween Philosophy and Social Science: Selected EarlyWritings(Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993), pp. 1–14, and “Traditional and Critical Theory,” inCritical Theory: Selected Essays(New York: Seabury, 1972), pp. 188–252. Raymond A. Morrowwith David A. Brown,Critical Theory and Methodology(Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994).Morrow and Brown note that Horkheimer’s early program “represented the first systematicattempt to employ traditional empirical techniques (e.g. survey research) to the refinementand testing of propositions derived from the Marxist tradition” (p. 15). For more recentattempts to conceptualize this problem, see Jurgen Habermas,On the Logic of the SocialSciences(Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988); “Reconstruction and Interpretation in the SocialSciences,” inMoral Consciousness and Communicative Action(Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990),pp. 21–42; Karl-Otto Apel,Understanding and Explanation: A Transcendental–PragmaticPerspective(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984); Brian Fay,Political Theory and Social Practice(London: George Allen & Unwin, 1975); Richard Bernstein,The Restructuring of Social andPolitical Theory(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978); and James Bohman,New Philosophy of The Social Sciences: Problems of Indeterminacy(Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993).2G. A. Cohen,Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defense, expanded edn (Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPres,2000);SelfOwnershipFreedomandEquality(Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1995); John Roemer,A General Theory of Exploitation and Class(Cambridge: Harvard University Pres, 1982);A Future for Socialism(Cambridge: HarvardUniversity Press, 1994);Theories of Distributive Justice(Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1998); Jon Elster,Making Sense of Marx(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985);
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