Critical+Theory

Critical+Theory - Critical Paradigm and Communication...

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Unformatted text preview: Critical Paradigm and Communication Theory Critical Theory Overview Critical o Substantial societal/cultural imbalances exist that result in oppression and pain (example class distinction, gender, economic; rich vs. poor) certain people (example benefit while others are oppressed benefit • Most people do not even realize this (how are you oppressed and alienated?... “assisting the demands of oppressed getting an educational degree and how the process getting works is out of our hands, act or dress a certain way, works access to information—even the access to things we do access have are controlled ex internet sites) have o Theory should critique as a way to facilitate awareness, reform and change • Goal is NOT just to represent the social world as it exists currently exists o Focal concept here is power Focal power • Critical Paradigm: Historical Roots o Marxist Thought: • Saw the external world as humanly created, then reified and seen as objective and • This process of objectification and reification serves as a source of alienation for the individual (things turn on alienation the people that create them) the • The economic substructure and superstructure (culture, The economic superstructure politics, etc.) are sources of alienation and require alienation critique and revolution critique o Frankfurt School critical theorists: • Advocate a “revolution of consciousness” Advocate • Key concepts include alienation and critique Not going to take place the way Marxist really wanted to • Paradigm Positions o Ontology: • Meta-Theoretical Considerations o Epistemology: o Axiology • Complex and varied; social construction and realist • Habermas’s contributions: o Knowledge comes from many sources o Critical-emancipatory view sees knowledge as self-reflection; realization knowledge of need for change of • Knowledge is key to emancipation • Critic/subject relationship varies widely • Methods of knowing usually center on “critique” “critique” • Meta-Theoretical Considerations o Human Will o Stability/Change • Values should direct theories toward emancipation Values emancipation (taking positions, making ppl aware and emancipate (taking themselves) themselves) • We create structures that then restrict some • Recognition of both agency and structure • Goal here is to critique status quo and dominant view; “revolution” often needed “revolution” Current way of doing things isn’t working • Critical Theory: Key Terminology o Societal/cultural structures create power imbalances, which alienate/oppress Societal/cultural alienate/oppress o Goal is emancipation (via critique and action to raise awareness and Goal emancipation critique action educate) educate) • Power is often in the deep structure Power deep • Taken-for-granted views are ideology. Taken-for-granted ideology • Ruling elite uses a process called hegemony to get Ruling hegemony members to accept subordination members o Especially to give voice to marginalized Especially voice marginalized • Some Critical Approaches Today: o Cultural studies Cultural • Dominant minority can shape cultural practices through control of economics/media/politics control o Feminist theory • See gender as defining feature in social life • Patriarchal nature of society seen regularly • Theories work to increase awareness (inclusion) or seek change/action (revisionist) • Feminist voices are not unitary • Critical Approaches: Evaluation o Key Strengths: • Uncovers societal imbalances and hidden control Uncovers • Real advances in gender, diversity issues, working conditions, the environment, etc. conditions, o Key Weaknesses • Can encourages us to see all elites as oppressive • Focuses on power/domination more than empowerment • Elitist view that only critics can recognize oppression o Theory Criteria • Unclear beyond general emancipation goal ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2012 for the course COMM 200 taught by Professor Theiss during the Spring '07 term at Rutgers.

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