By the early 1990s, the popularity of “theory” as a subject of interest by itself was declining slightly even as the texts of literary theory were incorporated into the study of almost all literature. Critical theory (also capitalized as Critical Theory to distinguish the school of thought from a theory that is in some way "critical" ) is an approach to social philosophy that focuses on reflective assessment and critique of society and culture in order to reveal and challenge power structures. The practice of literary theory became a profession in the 20th century, but it has historical roots as far back as ancient Greece (Aristotle’s Poetics is an often cited early example), ancient India (Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra), ancient Rome (Longinus’s On the Sublime) and medieval Iraq (Al-Jahiz’s al-Bayan wa-‘l-tabyinand al-Hayawan, and ibn al-Mu’tazz’s Kitab al-Badi). I'd like to separate it, as much as possible, into fields, eras, etc. Mark Tadajewski, Towards a history of critical marketing studies, Journal of Marketing Management, 10.1080/02672571003668954, 26, 9-10, (773-824), (2010). Feminists take for their study the subjects of marginalization and minority cultures, while New Historicists look at a text in relation to its historical context and influences. New Historicism/Cultural Studies (1980s-present) 9. Critical Theory in the narrow sense designates several generations of German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition known as the Frankfurt School. The functionalist perspective, also called functionalism, is one of the major … Start studying Critical Theories List. 9.5.6 Critical Theory, Mass Media, and Popular Culture. Several versions of critical theory exist, but all explain crime in terms of group differences in power. Aestheticism – often associated with Romanticism, a philosophy defining aesthetic value as the primary goal in understanding literature. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. “The methodology underpinning much of the social justice perspective is known as critical theory. Critical theories also try to explain group differences in crime rates in terms of the larger social environment; some focus on class differences, some on gender differences, and some on societal differences in crime. In ancient times, Greek scholars took materialist and philosophical approaches to understanding and preserving historical contexts. Quotations are from X.J. But it was not until the broad impact of structuralism began to be felt in the English-speaking academic world that “literary theory” was thought of as a unified domain. Marxism and capitalism are two familiar political philosophies that also serve as critical theories for interpreting and analyzing past historical trends, as well as current events. In 1923, Felix decided to use his father’s money to found an institute specifically devoted to the study of German society in the light of a Marxist approach. Critical theory – the examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities.The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism. Broad schools of theory that have historically been important include historical and biographical criticism, New Criticism, formalism, Russian formalism, and structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxism, feminism and French feminism, post-colonialism, new historicism, deconstruction, reader-response criticism, and psychoanalytic criticism. Critical Approaches to Literature Plain text version of this document. This handbook grants the reader access to the tradition and the core concepts and approaches of critical theory. Described below are nine common critical approaches to the literature. American pragmatism and other American approaches, Harold Bloom, Stanley Fish, Richard Rorty, Cognitive Cultural Studies – applies research in cognitive neuroscience, cognitive evolutionary psychology and anthropology, and philosophy of mind to the study of literature and culture, Frederick Luis Aldama, Mary Thomas Crane, Nancy Easterlin, William Flesch, David Herman, Suzanne Keen, Patrick Colm Hogan, Alan Richardson, Ellen Spolsky, Blakey Vermeule, Lisa Zunshine, Cultural studies – emphasizes the role of literature in everyday life, Raymond Williams, Dick Hebdige, and Stuart Hall (British Cultural Studies); Max Horkheimer andTheodor Adorno; Michel de Certeau; also Paul Gilroy, John Guillory, Darwinian literary studies – situates literature in the context of evolution and natural selection, Deconstruction – a strategy of “close” reading that elicits the ways that key terms and concepts may be paradoxical or self-undermining, rendering their meaning undecidable, Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Gayatri Spivak, Avital Ronell, Gender (see feminist literary criticism) – which emphasizes themes of gender relations, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Hélène Cixous, Elaine Showalter, Formalism – a school of literary criticism and literary theory having mainly to do with structural purposes of a particular text, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Erich Auerbach, René Wellek, Marxism (see Marxist literary criticism) – which emphasizes themes of class conflict, Georg Lukács, Valentin Voloshinov, Raymond Williams, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, New Criticism – looks at literary works on the basis of what is written, and not at the goals of the author or biographical issues, W. K. Wimsatt, F. R. Leavis, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, New Historicism – which examines the work through its historical context and seeks to understand cultural and intellectual history through literature, Stephen Greenblatt, Louis Montrose, Jonathan Goldberg, H. Aram Veeser, Postcolonialism – focuses on the influences of colonialism in literature, especially regarding the historical conflict resulting from the exploitation of less developed countries and indigenous peoples by Western nations, Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Homi Bhabha and Declan Kiberd, Postmodernism – criticism of the conditions present in the twentieth century, often with concern for those viewed as social deviants or the Other, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Maurice Blanchot, Post-structuralism – a catch-all term for various theoretical approaches (such as deconstruction) that criticize or go beyond Structuralism’s aspirations to create a rational science of culture by extrapolating the model of linguistics to other discursive and aesthetic formations, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Psychoanalysis (see psychoanalytic literary criticism) – explores the role of consciousnesses and the unconscious in literature including that of the author, reader, and characters in the text, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Harold Bloom, Slavoj Žižek, Viktor Tausk, Queer theory – examines, questions, and criticizes the role of gender identity and sexuality in literature, Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Michel Foucault, Reader-response criticism – focuses upon the active response of the reader to a text, Louise Rosenblatt, Wolfgang Iser, Norman Holland, Hans-Robert Jauss, Stuart Hall, Structuralism and semiotics (see semiotic literary criticism) – examines the universal underlying structures in a text, the linguistic units in a text and how the author conveys meaning through any structures, Ferdinand de Saussure, Roman Jakobson, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Mikhail Bakhtin, Yurii Lotman, Umberto Eco, Jacques Ehrmann, Northrop Frye and morphology of folklore, Eco-criticism – explores cultural connections and human relationships to the natural world, Other theorists: Robert Graves, Alamgir Hashmi, John Sutherland, Leslie Fiedler, Kenneth Burke, Paul Bénichou, Barbara Johnson, Blanca de Lizaur, Dr Seuss. 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