Critique and possibility in cultural sociology

Amsler, Sarah and Hanraha, Nancy (2017) Critique and possibility in cultural sociology. In: The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology (Second edition). Routledge. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Amsler and Hanrahan - Re-imagining Critique - Routledge Cultural Sociology - pre-print version 2017.pdf

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Abstract

Critique and judgment were once regarded as the distinguishing features of an emancipatory social science, yet their role in the study of culture has become particularly contested in recent years. However, while cultural sociologists may have become disenchanted with critical theory, culture itself is not ‘post-critical.’ The tension between a widespread disavowal of critique in cultural sociology and the persistence of critical judgment in cultural life thus raises several questions for sociologists. Can, and should, normative judgment be an integral part of a fully articulated approach to culture, one that values in equal measure the interpretation of meaning, its normative evaluation, and its relation to action in the social world? In this chapter, we suggest that critical theory – including, and indeed particularly that within the Frankfurt School tradition – offers important insights for combining deep interpretations of meaning-making practices, which are essential for cultural understanding, with their normative evaluation, which is a necessary element of critical participation in political life.

Keywords:critical theory, cultural critique, Dialectic of Enlightenment, politics of knowledge
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L210 Political Theories
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:26377
Deposited On:15 Feb 2017 15:41

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