Critical Theory Today. An Old Paradigm for New Challenges?

Azimuth 16/2020 | Critical Theory Today. An Old Paradigm for New Challenges?

Edited by Gianluca Cavallo, Giorgio Fazio
ISBN EBOOK: 978-88-5529-101-9
ISBN PAPER: 978-88-5529-100-2

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In the last two decades critical theory, in its various declinations, has shown great vitality. In the tradition inspired by the Frankfurt School concepts and approaches proper to the first generation (Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse) have been recovered and re-actualized. On the basis of theoretical reflections on the method and scope of a critical theory of society, concepts and categories which had been marginalized from international philosophical debates (such as reification, alienation, and ideology) have gained new critical potential.

On the other hand, the very concept of critical theory has been reformulated and enlarged, as a result of the intersection between different traditions of thought (pragmatism, post-structuralism, post-colonial studies, feminist thought, gender and race studies, environmental humanities, etc.). This has also facilitated the acknowledgement of flaws and ideological biases affecting some theoretical presuppositions of  Frankfurt Critical Theory. Not always, however, this theoretical work has been accompanied by  multidisciplinary social research, in conformity with the original program of the Frankfurt School.

In light of these considerations, Azimuth intends to offer a platform to explore the possibilities that recent theoretical and methodological reflections can offer for the diagnosis of present social pathologies. How can we develop on this basis a renewed critique of present capitalism, growing authoritarianism, cultural industry, or personality structures? How can we approach within this tradition questions that had been only marginally addressed, such as gender and race oppression, and “new” problems, such as digitalization, artificial intelligence, or the destruction of the natural environment?


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