From Agamben to Eziezek: Contemporary Critical Theorists

From Agamben to Eziezek: Contemporary Critical Theorists

From Agamben to Eziezek: Contemporary Critical Theorists

From Agamben to Eziezek: Contemporary Critical Theorists

Synopsis

In these 15 taster essays you will discover the key concepts and critical approaches of the theorists who have had the most significant impact on the humanities since 1990. On completing each chapter, you will find suggestions for further reading so that you can find out more and start applying the ideas in question. In addition to chapters on individuals such as Badiou, Rancière and Spivak, there are chapters on Laclau and Mouffe, and a chapter on Green critical theorists.

Excerpt

This volume offers fifteen introductory essays about key contemporary critical theorists. The type and range of ‘critical theory’ covered in this volume refers to the broad sense of that term as it is used in Anglophone academia as a catch-all phrase for a divergent set of theories that distinguish themselves from conventional or traditional theories. ‘Critical theory’ designates a range of ‘isms’ including Marxism and post-Marxism, semiotics and discourse analysis, structuralism and post-structuralism, ideology critique of all varieties, deconstruction, feminism, queer theory, psychoanalysis, postcolonialism, postmodernism, as well as the successors to Frankfurt School Critical Theory. ‘Critical theory’ in the broader sense is an effect of the appropriation and integration of both Frankfurt School Critical Theory and the various streams of ‘French’ and other thought into Anglophone academies since the mid-1960s, when a range of theoretical approaches to different branches of the humanities and social sciences began to be adopted on the margins of established disciplinary methodologies. The labels of postmodernism and poststructuralism became the most common, though reductive if not downright inaccurate, handles with which this range of theory was grasped in the heady days of ‘high theory’.

The range of critical theorists covered by this book provides an overview of the general field without privileging one particular area of critical theory. These theorists travel across disciplinary boundaries, their work being useful within a wide variety of disciplines as well as in the interdisciplinary work of say, African-American Studies and visual culture studies.

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