Critical Social Theory

3 Nov

Blomley, N. (2006) Uncritical critical geography? Progress in Human Geography, 30(1), 89.

Agger (1998) provides a more detailed dissection of critical social theory, as practiced in fields such as feminism, critical theory and cultural studies, arguing that it has the following features:

  1. A rejection of positivist inquiry, in particular, its notion of value-free science and the notion of immutable social laws. All knowledge, it is argued, is perspectival, flowing from certain prior commitments. Social structures are to be seen as contingent and historical.
  2. An endorsement of the possibility of progress, attained through concerted political and social action. Critical scholarship can further progressive change through consciousness-raising and informed insight and analysis.
  3. An argument for the structural dynamics of domination, whether through the logic of material conditions, culture, or discourse.
  4. The claim that domination is produced through forms of false consciousness, ideology and myth: critical science is tasked with contesting such beliefs in the service of transformation.
  5. A faith in the agency of everyday change and a concomitant rejection of determinism; structure and agency are viewed as dialectically related.
  6. A rejection of revolutionary expediency.

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