No Social Science Without Critical Theory (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Volume 25)
Since the linguistic turn in Frankfurt School critical theory during the 1970s, philosophical concerns have become increasingly important to its overall agenda, at the expense of concrete social-scientific inquiries. At the same time, each of the individual social sciences especially economics and psychology, but also political science and sociology have been moving further and further away from the challenge key representatives of the so-called first generation of Frankfurt School critical theorists (Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse) identified as central to the promise and responsibility of social science: to illuminate those dimensions of modern societies that prevent the reconciliation of facts and norms. As professional disciplines, each individual social science, and even philosophy, is prone to ignoring both the actuality and the relevance for research of alienation and reification as the mediating processes that constitute the reference frames for critical theory.
Consequently, mainstream social-scientific research tends to progress in the hypothetical: we study the social world as if alienation, reification, and more recent incarnations of those mediating processes had lost their shaping forcewhile, in the context of globalization, their manifestations are ever more apparent, and tangible.
The chapters included in this volume of Current Perspectives in Social Theory highlight the problematic nature of mainstream perspectives, and the growing need to reaffirm how the specific kind of critique the early Frankfurt School theorists advocated is not less, but far more important today.
Block examine aspects How Social Science is Impossible Without Critical Theory 55 of Marcuse’s rendering of critical theory. Kevin Fox Gotham and Daniel Krier employed Adorno’s category of culture industry to the Situationist International. 40. With regard to sociology, see the very useful overview over the history and role of mainstream approaches by Calhoun and VanAntwerpen (2007). 41. As Smith (1977, p. 232) put it in The Wealth of Nations, ‘‘For one very rich man, there must be at least
its embrace to include groups otherwise ‘‘othered out’’ by an operative catalog of representative elements; that is, social movements have sought to generate ideological arguments to extend universality to particularities hitherto bordered out of its grasp. Political Geographies of Contingent Universality 117 Clearly, some of these concerns have also been at the forefront of recent reﬂection by critical political geographers and others in our attempts to dissect the concept of globalization
NATTER traditional political theorists, political philosophers and the like, have tended to encounter great difﬁculty – precisely because of the Anspruch of universality – when considering the possibility of a non-substantive or even ‘‘merely’’ procedural notion of it (as witnessed by the critique that Habermas’ notion of communicative rationality harvested), the geographical imagination when it contemplates both space and time is hypothetically able to turn the quandary of delivering
historic preservation sites, megaplex cinema, themed restaurants, simulation theaters, and virtual reality arcades in constituting a ‘‘new urban economy’’ dominated by tourism, sports, and entertainment. The diverse research on consumption reﬂect scholarly interest in understanding the social dynamics of entertainment and leisure; the effect of themed environments on conceptions of time and space; changing sociocultural attitudes toward consumption; and the amalgam of global-local connections
theorists, especially Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and others, are complementary contributions of the analysis of modern capitalist society. The major contributions of these scholars lie in the elaboration and application of the ideas of alienation, commodiﬁcation, and reiﬁcation. Inﬂuenced by Luka´cs and Lefebvre, Debord and the Situationists attempted to update and extend these concepts, broaden their empirical application, and enhance their explanatory power. For the