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SOC 302 Critical Theory Notes

by: Paula Tattoni

SOC 302 Critical Theory Notes SOC 302

Marketplace > University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa > Sociology > SOC 302 > SOC 302 Critical Theory Notes
Paula Tattoni

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These are the notes on Critical Theory!
Sociological Theory
Chenoia N. Bryant
Class Notes
sociology, sociological theory, SOC 302, Critical Theory
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Paula Tattoni on Monday February 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 302 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Chenoia N. Bryant in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Sociological Theory in Sociology at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 02/29/16
Critical Theory (Max Horkheimer & Theodor Adorno; Herbert Marcuse; Jurgen Habermas) Tuesday, February 23, 2016 11:13 AM A Critical Theory a Use of reason to critique the ways in which reasoned, critical thought is suppresses in culture and in institutional practices b Reason used to dominate rather than to liberate individuals/groups c Highlights the irrational character of the established rationality B Technological Rationality a Enlightenment Thought: use of science to advance social progress b These values have been replaced with a technical ethos that uses science for strategic rather than normative gains c Technological Rationality: use of science and technology to expand instrumental domination B Dialectic of Enlightenment a Instead of the progress promised by the Enlightenment understanding of science and progress, we have its opposite: control and domination rather than freedom and equality b Science/technology harnesses to economic profits and to the control of society and of nature B Technology as Social Control a Scientific management b GPS Technologies c Electronic Readers/Tracking Devices d Automated Procedures/Technologies e Technology forms a system of domination (notwithstanding its positive uses in everyday life) B Mass Media as Business a Politics and culture appropriated by the culture industry; entertainment as business i Concern with profit maximization b The news is now entertainment, not politically relevant information and analysis c The is content that helps the new organization's own "brand" as a media company B News As a Business Brand a News is only benefitting the organization that it comes from B Mass Culture a Entertainment packaged into a mad product b Culture is what can be sold to as many people as possible (e.g. television dramas, reality shows) c Standardization of cultural products d Culture of "sameness" e Despite different targeted market segments, differences among cultural products of illusory B Culture of Advertising a Hegemony of consumption b Promotional culture, advertisements everywhere c Consumption appears as the most attractive thing to do Critical Theory (Part 2) Thursday, February 25, 2016 11:01 AM A The Rationality of Consumer Targeting a New technologies and data gathering tools (e.g. focus groups) are used to further advance advertising and marketing strategies and film/television program content B Consumer Culture a Creation of "false needs" b Restricted choice c Culture of imitation d Authority of celebrity e "Cultural Totalitarianism" i Critical theorists tend to overstate the manipulative power of the culture industry B Politics: One-Dimensional Rationality a Cultural packaging of politicians b Sameness in choices among political candidates c Branding of voters into homogenized groups d Political debate restricted; narrowness of opposing arguments i Voters more savvy than critical theorists acknowledge B Jurgen Habermas a Crisis endemic in modern capitalist societies b Crises require structural changes c Perception of crisis not driven by economic/class inequality; class consciousness suppressed by mass consumption B Legitimation Crisis a Interrelated economic and political steering problems in the capitalist system/society b Political Dependency: citizens look to the state to solve problems c Failure of the state to respond adequately i Legitimate crisis ii State unable to sustain the mass loyalty of it citizens B Public Sphere a Freedom to engage in political discussion and informal communication core to democratic society b Civil Society: private individuals/citizens coming together in, and as a, public c Today, public sphere colonized by economic interests; communication restricted B Communicative Action a Retrieve Reason: i As a communicative tool for action ii For non-instrumental purposes iii To advance democracy/equality iv To resist the colonization of the lifeworld; resist institutional domination in everyday life B Ideal Speech Situation a Use of reason to cooperatively reach an achieved consensus about future action b Communicative Rationality: raise validity claims about propositional truth, normative rights, and sincerity of statements c No one participant has a monopoly on correct interpretation B Communicative Action in Practice a Blocked by institutional power structures (the state, economic corporations) and everyday strategic thinking b Ignores the relevance of emotion and tradition as action motivators in everyday life c Vagueness about what/whose cultural norms should inform critique of totalitarian tendencies


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