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Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #265)

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  197 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Critical Theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose-and, if at all possible, cure-the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of leading representatives of the critical tradition (such as George Lukacs and Ernst Bloch, Theo ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 18th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 18th 2011)
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Aug 12, 2016 Joseph rated it did not like it
Shelves: philosophy
This literally sucked. Critical theory is such a joke.
Johannes Bertus
Feb 05, 2014 Johannes Bertus rated it it was ok
This might be a good book on some level, but as an introduction it fails completely. I wish the editor of the series would remind authors of the difference between academic and popular writing - avoid esoteric jargon, explain references to lesser known thinkers, etc. This book assumes far too much prior knowledge to qualify as an introduction.
Feb 17, 2015 Devon rated it liked it
Helpful in providing context to a class on critical theory, but without the knowledge from that class this book would be incomprehensible as an introduction. The author frequently neglects to define specialized terms and the reader is left to infer what they mean.
David Berry
Jun 05, 2012 David Berry rated it did not like it
I read Peter Singer's outstanding introduction to Hegel from the same series. This book is two leagues down. It superficially treats the intellectual concerns of the Frankfurt School and turns glib in its contemporary politics.
i have yet to read anything about critical theory that convinces me that it has something substantial or interesting to say. i've tried many times.
Margaret Dugger
Jan 16, 2014 Margaret Dugger rated it liked it
A lot of information that isn't necessarily organized in the greatest way. It's very helpful in capturing the larger picture. Especially when you've already read a bit of Critical Theory, and provides a nice "further reading" list.
Aug 26, 2014 virgodura rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
books like this are why my engagement with theory over the last six years of university has been incredibly piecemeal.
Jun 19, 2016 Howard rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, vsi
Somewhat helpful introduction. Unfortunately the scope is a little too limited on the Frankfurt School and its direct heirs and does not include some of the more contemporary trends such as post-Lacanian psychoanalysis, post-structuralist semiology, post-Marxist, post-colonial and gender and sexuality theories.
Towards the end, the author makes a very good point: If critical theory wants to remain committed to its goal of solidarity, resistance and freedom, it must break away from the current tre
Frank Spencer
Mar 06, 2012 Frank Spencer rated it it was amazing
If you read this book, you will know more about Critical Theory than you did before reading it. The author is very experienced, and covers the area well. I saw critical theory more as interdisciplinary than I did when I started. It covers topics in Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, Political Science, and many other traditional disciplines. Eric Fromm is covered quite extensively in the book. I will probably cover him in my book on Healers and Feelings. There is an entry about Fromm here http:// ...more
Oleg Kagan
I read through about half of this book but I eventually found the Marxist theory tiresome. The book is well-written and interesting and I would recommend it to anybody who would like a basic survey of critical theory. Bronner does a sound job of explaining the dinner points of some complicated theory. However, if you are interested in an overview of literary, social, or, economic theory beyond the Frankfurt School and their descendants, I would recommend books with a wider focus. For a short int ...more
Aug 01, 2016 Darius rated it really liked it
It is a very short, but accurate introduction. I read it in advance of a Lit theory course I would take in graduate school and after taking a Lit theory course in undergraduate school (just to brush up). It was a breezy read; so if you're new to theory, this isn't the worst place to start. Enjoy.
C. Michael
Oct 25, 2015 C. Michael rated it really liked it
The beauty of critical theory is when it is turned on itself. The results demonstrate the shortcomings of socialism.
Jan 18, 2016 Sandra rated it it was ok
this was a very uncomfortable experience... I can't say much about it because it was very hard to understand.
Mills College Library
801.95 B8694 2011
Andrew Heritage

A seemingly fantastic introduction without any bias or prejudice.

I will be reading more on Critical Theory after this.

Highly recommended.
Jason Schulman
Sep 08, 2012 Jason Schulman rated it it was amazing
Bronner packs a great deal of information on the Frankfurt School and its antecedents in a very few pages. Dense stuff, but very much worth the effort
Geraint Ballinger
Not the best of the series I have read, but informative nonetheless.
Martin Collet
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