Critical Theory Quotes

Quotes tagged as "critical-theory" Showing 1-30 of 54
Ivan Chtcheglov
“Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit. [Entre l'amour et le vide-ordure automatique la jeunesse de tous les pays a fait son choix et préfère le vide-ordure.]”
Ivan Chtcheglov

Michel Foucault
“Visibility is a trap.”
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Paul Virilio
“There are eyes everywhere. No blind spot left. What shall we dream of when everything becomes visible? We'll dream of being blind.”
Paul Virilio

Guy Debord
“In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”
Guy Debord

Guy Debord
“Ideas improve. The meaning of words participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author's phrase, makes use of his expressions, erases a false idea, and replaces it with the right idea. ”
Guy Debord

Theodor W. Adorno
“Freud made the discovery- quite genuinely, simply through working on his own material- that the more deeply one explores the phenomena of human individuation, the more unreservedly one grasps the individual as a self-contained and dynamic entity, the closer one draws to that in the individual which is really no longer individual.”
Theodor Adorno, Introduction to Sociology

Stuart Hall
“Against the urgency of people dying in the streets, what in God's name is the point of cultural studies?...At that point, I think anybody who is into cultural studies seriously as an intellectual practice, must feel, on their pulse, its ephemerality, its insubstantiality, how little it registers, how little we've been able to change anything or get anybody to do anything. If you don't feel that as one tension in the work that you are doing, theory has let you off the hook.”
Stuart Hall

Guy Debord
“Tourism, human circulation considered as consumption is fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal.”
Guy Debord

Theodor W. Adorno
“What can oppose the decline of the west is not a resurrected culture but the utopia that is silently contained in the image of its decline.”
Theodor W. Adorno

Guy Debord
“There is nothing more natural than to consider everything as starting from oneself, chosen as the center of the world; one finds oneself thus capable of condemning the world without even wanting to hear its deceitful chatter.”
Guy Debord

Grafton Tanner
“For now, we live in the mall, but I think it's closing soon.”
Grafton Tanner, Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of Ghosts

Charles  Thorpe
“Having is estranged being.”
Charles Thorpe

Walter Benjamin
“The expressions of those moving about a picture gallery show ill-concealed disappointment that they only find pictures there.”
Walter Benjamin, One Way Street And Other Writings

“[Foucault's] criticism is not transcendental, and its goal is not that of making a metaphysics possible: it is genealogical in its design and archaeological in its method.

Archaeological –and not transcendental– in the sense that it will not seek to identify the universal structures of all knowledge or of all possible moral action, but will seek to treat the instances of discourse that articulate what we think, say, and do as so many historical events.

And this critique will be genealogical in the sense it will not deduce from the form of what we are what is impossible for us to do and to know; but it will separate out, from the contingency that has made us what we are, the possibility of no longer being, doing, or thinking what we are, do or think. It is not seeking to make possible a metaphysics that has finally become a science; it is seeking to give new impetus, as far and wide as possible, to the undefined work of freedom.”
Paul Rabinow, The Foucault Reader

Theodor W. Adorno
“Tenderness between people is nothing other than awareness of the possibility of relations without purpose.”
Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life

“For the sake of their own self-image they had to force themselves to believe that they sought happiness for their slaves. But the “happiness” of the slaves could never have arisen from an acceptance of slavery. At best, it had to arise as a function of the living space created by paternalistic compromise forced on them. That living space meant the possibility of creation of an autonomous spiritual life – a religion of their own with which they could be “happy” – that is, they could live in reasonable peace with themselves. The masters, seeing their apparent contentment took credit and congratulated themselves for the slaves’ acceptance of slavery, whereas in fact the slaves had only accepted the limited protection that even slavery had to offer, while acknowledging the reality of the power over them. The masters then had to hold the slaves’ religion in contempt, for in truth they feared it. And properly so, for it meant that the slaves had achieved a degree of psychological and cultural autonomy and therefore successfully resisted becoming extensions of their masters’ wills – the one thing they were supposed to become. It made all the difference that the masters’ claims to be bestowing privileges were greeted by the slaves as recognition of their own rights. “Men” wrote Gramsci, “when they feel their strength and are conscious of their responsibility and their value, do not want another man to impose his will on theirs and undertake to control their thoughts and actions.” The everyday instance in which “docile” slaves suddenly rebelled and “kind” masters suddenly behaved like wild bests had their origins, apart from frequent instabilities in the participating responsibilities in this dialectic. Masters and slaves had both “agreed” on the paternalistic basis of their relationship, the one from reasons of self-aggrandizement and the other from lack of an alternative. But they understood very different things by their apparently common assent. And every manifestation of that contradiction threatened the utmost violence… The slaves defended themselves effectively against the worst of their masters’ aggression, but they paid a high price. They fought for their right to think and act as autonomous human beings, but it was a desperate fight in which they could easily slip backward… they had manifested strength…. In Gramsci’s terms, they had had to wage a prolonged, embittered struggle with themselves as well as with their oppressors to “feel their strength” and to become “conscious of their responsibility and their value.” It was not that the slaves did not act like men. Rather, it was that they could not grasp their collective strength as a people and act like political men. The black struggle on that front, which has not been won, has paralleled that of every other oppressed people. It is the most difficult because it is the final stage a people must wage to forge themselves into a nation.”
Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made, A Magat Analysis

Gilles Deleuze
“The two of us wrote Anti-Oedipus together. Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as farthest away. We have assigned clever pseudonyms to prevent recognition. Why have we kept our own names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognizable in turn. To render imperceptible, not ourselves, but what makes us act, feel and think. Also because it’s nice to talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, when everybody knows it’s only a manner of speaking. To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.”
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Fredric Jameson
“certain kinds of analyses -- like those of Karatani here -- are analogous to creative works themselves, insofar as they propose a schema which it is the reader's task to construct and to project out onto the night sky of the mind's eye; and this is in fact, I believe, the way in which a good deal of contemporary theory is read by artists, who do no in fact use such books primarily for their perceptive contributions to the analysis of this or that familiar work of art, the way and older criticism was appealed to by readers of belles lettres. These younger "postmodern" readers, as I understand it, look at the theoretical abstractions of post-contemporary books in order to imagine the concrete referents to which those abstractions might possibly apply -- whether those are artistic languages or experiences of daily life. Here, the analysis produces the absent text of what remains to be invented, rather than modestly following along behind the achieved masterpiece with a running commentary. It is -- to use the expression again -- science-fictional (as benefits a culture like ours, just catching up with science fiction, not merely in content, but in its form): the new abstractions model the forms of reality that does not net exist, but which it would be interesting to experience.”
Frederic Jameson

“The world of the sorcerer’s apprentice – a world without an ‘off’ switch? Is that the world we inhabit?”
Peter Beilharz

Charles  Thorpe
“Love is paradigmatic of the truly human relationship, in that it is based entirely on the expression of what the individual is as a human being and the calling forth reciprocally of love in the other individual as a manifestation of their being.
If economic life was truly human, then love would be an aspect of production and exchange.”
Charles Thorpe, Necroculture

“Becoming is an antimemory.”
Giles Deleuze, Felix Guattari

“Becoming is an antimemory.”
Giles Deleuze

Gilles Deleuze
“Becoming is an antimemory.”
Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

“Frankfurt School Critical Theory is generally understood as a body of social thought both emerging from and responding to Marxism, and the work of critical theorists is recognized as having made significant contributions to the study of [culture] … Emphasizing issues of consciousness and culture, the critical theorists have … stressed the role of human agency in affecting revolutionary social change. … Theory with practical intent seeks not only to understand the world but also to transform it.”
Joan Alway, Critical Theory and Political Possibilities: Conceptions of Emancipatory Politics in the Works of Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, and Habermas

Brian Leiter
“Theory," recall, is the term for bad philosophy in literature departments.”
Brian Leiter

Sarah Arthur
“Sifting the real from fake news is a skillset some of us have only recently recognized as urgent. Facts are not only hotly contested in favor of various ideological fictions, but the fictions can be alarmingly persuasive and even harmful to real people on the ground. As a result, we've learned to approach everything with what my theology professor, J. Kameron Carter, called a "hermeneutics of suspicion" - something that communities of color have employed for centuries. Whom does this interpretation of events benefit? Why? What other voices also need amplifying?”
Sarah Arthur, A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time

Stephen Eric Bronner
“The Frankfurt School was profoundly mistaken in thinking that the Enlightenment—or, better, its scientific rationality—should be interpreted as triumphant or in isolation from the theory and practice of its rivals. Enlightenment thinking has always been on the defensive. That remains the case.”
Stephen Eric Bronner, Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction

A.D. Aliwat
“Critical theory can’t be presented as artfully as poetry or fiction!”
A.D. Aliwat, In Limbo

“One thing remains certain: as long as anxieties about racial, national, sexual, and religious difference continue to haunt the way we imagine ourselves and respond to others, Shakespeare's words will remain 'not of an age, but for all time.”
James Shapiro, Shakespeare and the Jews

“Because of its internal complexity and single-minded focus on oppression, intersectionality is riddled with divisions and subcategories, which exist in competition with—or even in unrepentant contradiction to—each other. Some people in the United States therefore argue that gay white men (Fitzgerald 2019) and nonblack people of color—generally assessed as marginalized groups—need to recognize their privilege and antiblackness (Chung 2017). This can lead to the insistence that lighter-skinned black people recognize their privilege over darker-skinned black people (Tracey 2019). Straight black men have been described as the “white people of black people” (Young 2019). It is also not uncommon to hear arguments that trans men, while still oppressed by attitudes towards their trans status, need to recognize that they have ascended to male privilege (Abelson 2014) and amplify the voices of trans women, who are seen as doubly oppressed, by being both trans and women. Gay men and lesbians might well find themselves not considered oppressed at all, particularly if they are not attracted to trans men or trans women, respectively, which is considered a form of transphobia and misgendering (Sara C 2018). Asians and Jews may find themselves stripped of marginalized status due to the comparative economic success of their demographics, their participation in “whiteness,” or other factors (Kuo 2018; Lungen 2018). Queerness needs to be decolonized—meaning made more racially diverse—and its conceptual origins in white figures like Judith Butler need to be interrogated (Small 2019).”
Helen Pluckrose

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