modernity are susceptible to a more constructive tension with Marx's work. Indeed, the debates' contemporary perspectives on and commitment to critical-practical engagement with ideological features of the Enlightenment and capitalism can be revitalized by the contributions of Marx's materialist critique.
Habermas's concern with the critiques of reification and rationalization stem from the Frankfurt School appropriation of Lukacsian and Weberian analyses for an emancipatory critical theory. Taking the aporetic critique of instrumental (or technocratic) reason which issued from this engagement as his starting point, Habermas intends that a different theoretical approach can quell what he perceives to be its attendant political dangers. That is, he attempts to meet the theoretical pessimism of this approach to Enlightenment modernity and the conservative or antimodern political tendencies he associates with it in his theory of discursive redemption of the Enlightenment's legitimate aspira-tions.
His theory of communicative action, then, incorporates concern with the dismantling of welfare-state structures and the criticisms of capitalist growth with its multifaceted oppressions of new social movements as arenas for legitimation crises. Habermas argues that his discourse ethics acquires its importance as critique on this construal of the paradoxes of modernity as the colonization of the life-world by instrumental rationality in such a way that the imperatives of system maintenance have taken priority over communicatively secured social integration. Enlightenment ideals of autonomy, self-development and freedom are encapsulated in the realization of Habermas's project of modernity as a procedural theory of natural rights. Hence, the defence of these democratic values against the threat of antimodern or postmodern conservatism comprises a core stake of Habermas's project.
Recall Chapter 2, Part I, for elaboration of this summary statement.