chapter  8
11 Pages

Critical Theory

Adorno, Marcuse, and Angela Davis
WithArnold L. Farr

Herbert Marcuse claimed that like Marxism and Marxian theory, critical theory is a historical theory. That is, if the objective of critical theory is to provide a critical theory of society for the sake of liberating the oppressed, then critical theory must always reassess itself in light of historical developments. The very context of the development of early Frankfurt School critical theory was limiting. Critical theory began as an inquiry by white male Germans into the problem of gross economic inequality. Although the critique of culture opens the door for a broader critical theory, it remains confined to a critique of political economy and class-based oppression and fails to shed light on other forms of oppression. One of the most important contributions of early Frankfurt School critical theory to social/political theory is the fusion of Marxian social theory and Freudian psychoanalysis.