Adorno Horkheimer's Traditional And Critical Theory Of Society

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In the essay Traditional and Critical Theory, Adorno Horkheimer introduced the term critical theory in contrast to the traditional theory. ‘Critical theory’ or critical theory of society is defined as a social theory which aims to both critique and changes the society by providing a normative and descriptive basis for the ' emancipation' of the society. In fact, an emancipation of the oppressed (similar to the Marxian emancipation of the proletariat from the shackles of bourgeois) is the core concept of the critical theory. Horkheimer expands the theory as a human emancipation “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them”. For this reason, he further elaborates, unlike the traditional theory which only explains the…show more content…
The theorists use Marxism as the central pillar to ‘fix’ and develop the orthodox approach into Neo-Marxist though. However, as Karl Marx saw alienation of the working class by the bourgeois in the growing industrialized west and uprising of the former class against the latter as a remedy to the problem of the capitalist state, the proponents of the Frankfurt school essentially sought emancipation and transformation from the oppressing and alienating capitalism into a ‘real democracy”

Critical theory is divided into three sub-theories: Max Horkheimer’s emancipatory normative and critical thinking playing a role in the formation of democracy; Herbert Marcuse’s metaphilosophy and use of reasoning. The central aim of Horkheimer’s critical theory was the formation of a democratic state where the society constitutes of rational individuals with conscious control over the matters of both public and private life. He asserted in the Traditional and Critical theory (Ingram), individuals should become producers of their social life in totality. This is the path set up for others to follow to question the anti-democratic trend in then fascist society. Hence, Critical theory took on different turn focusing on the close bond between the state and the market in capitalism. This is an expansion of Marxian criticism of the

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