This paper argues that Critical Theory can, and should, take an intercultural turn, through which the contemporary challenges posed by cultural pluralism be faced. To begin, I attempt to demonstrate the paucity of Critical Theorists' engagement with issues of cultural alterity, reviewing three stages in the history of this encounter: Horkheimer and Adorno's interest in the relationship between myth and reason; Habermas's evolutionary theory of rationality; and, more recently, Honneth's framework of social recognition. Thus, in a first instance, the flawed or underdeveloped character of Critical Theory's cross-cultural sensibility will be stressed. The second part of the paper indicates some of the paths leading to a more cross-culturally sensitive Critical Theory. I thus call for the incorporation of some of the insights of a French stream of ‘ethnological’ social theory. Drawing on the work of Lévi-Strauss and Foucault, the paper strives to demonstrate how the ‘ethnologization’ of Critical Theory enables the defamiliarization and radical interrogation of Cartesian rationalism.
Kurasawa, F. (2002), "Prolegomena to an intercultural critical theory", Lehmann, J. (Ed.) Critical Theory: Diverse Objects, Diverse Subjects (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 325-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-1204(03)80015-4Download as .RIS
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