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Book part
Publication date: 20 May 2011

Harry F. Dahms

Despite profound differences, both the German Historical School and the critical theory of the Frankfurt School have in common a theoretical and cultural heritage in…

Abstract

Despite profound differences, both the German Historical School and the critical theory of the Frankfurt School have in common a theoretical and cultural heritage in Central European traditions of social thought and philosophy. Although both schools often are perceived as quintessentially German traditions of economic and social research, their methodological presuppositions and critical intent diverge strongly. Since the objective of the Frankfurt School was to carry the theoretical critique initiated by Marx into the twentieth century, and since its members did so on a highly abstract level of theoretical criticism, the suggestion may be surprising that in terms of their respective research agendas, there was a common denominator between the German Historical School and the Frankfurt School critical theory. To be sure, as will become apparent, the common ground was rather tenuous and indirect. We must ask, then: in what respects did their theoretical and analytical foundations and orientations overlap? How did the German Historical School, as a nineteenth-century tradition of economic thinking, influence the development of the Frankfurt School?

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The Vitality Of Critical Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-798-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1992

Warren J. Samuels

Examines the sources and implications of Mikhail Gorbachev′spolicies insofar as they have been policies of liberalization. It isprincipally argued that Marxism has been a…

Abstract

Examines the sources and implications of Mikhail Gorbachev′s policies insofar as they have been policies of liberalization. It is principally argued that Marxism has been a Western phenomenon and thereby a vehicle for the export of Western Enlightenment values to Third World countries but also to the Soviet Union itself. The nature and role of Marx′s analyses are considered in that light. So also are the status of nationalism in the USSR, the historical meaning and promise of socialism, the role of the legal‐economic nexus in the social reconstruction of reality in the USSR and in Central and Eastern Europe, the relevance to those developments of the emerging new European and world systems, and the relevance of all these for social economics.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 19 no. 7/8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 20 May 2011

Harry F. Dahms

For Weberian Marxists, the social theories of Max Weber and Karl Marx are complementary contributions to the analysis of modern capitalist society. Combining Weber's…

Abstract

For Weberian Marxists, the social theories of Max Weber and Karl Marx are complementary contributions to the analysis of modern capitalist society. Combining Weber's theory of rationalization with Marx's critique of commodity fetishism to develop his own critique of reification, Georg Lukács contended that the combination of Marx's and Weber's social theories is essential to envisioning socially transformative modes of praxis in advanced capitalist society. By comparing Lukács's theory of reification with Habermas's theory of communicative action as two theories in the tradition of Weberian Marxism, I show how the prevailing mode of “doing theory” has shifted from Marx's critique of economic determinism to Weber's idea of the inner logic of social value spheres. Today, Weberian Marxism can make an important contribution to theoretical sociology by reconstituting itself as a framework for critically examining prevailing societal definitions of the rationalization imperatives specific to purposive-rational social value spheres (the economy, the administrative state, etc.). In a second step, Weberian Marxists would explore how these value spheres relate to each other and to value spheres that are open to the type of communicative rationalization characteristic of the lifeworld level of social organization.

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The Vitality Of Critical Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-798-8

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Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2005

Harry F. Dahms

For sociological perspectives on globalization to do justice to its many facets, they must be informed by an understanding of modern societies as simultaneously complex…

Abstract

For sociological perspectives on globalization to do justice to its many facets, they must be informed by an understanding of modern societies as simultaneously complex, contingent, and contradictory – as modern capitalist societies. As is becoming ever more apparent, such an understanding of modern societies is the necessary precondition for identifying the defining features of globalization. Yet, for the most part, the history of the social sciences did not produce research agendas, theories, and methods designed to grasp complexity, contingency, and contradiction as core dimensions of modern social life that continually reinforce each other. The social sciences did not evolve as ongoing efforts to grasp the gravity each dimension exerts on concrete forms of political, economic and cultural life, and how the force of each depends on the constant exchange of energy with the other two. To the extent that scrutinizing the impact of globalization on the future – and possible futures – of human civilization is the primary challenge for social scientists to confront today, the current condition presents a unique, and perhaps most unusual opportunity to conceive anew the promise of each and all the social sciences, as elucidating how the complex, contingent, and contradictory nature of modern societies, in the name of advancing social justice, has engendered a regime of managing “social problems.”

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Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-363-1

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Book part
Publication date: 20 May 2011

Harry F. Dahms

For perspectives on globalization to do justice to its many facets, they must be informed by an understanding of modern societies as simultaneously complex, contingent…

Abstract

For perspectives on globalization to do justice to its many facets, they must be informed by an understanding of modern societies as simultaneously complex, contingent, and contradictory – as modern capitalist societies. As is becoming ever more apparent, such an understanding of modern societies is the necessary precondition for identifying the defining features of globalization. Yet, for the most part, the history of the social sciences did not produce research agendas, theories, and methods designed to grasp complexity, contingency, and contradiction as core dimensions of modern social life that continually reinforce each other. The social sciences did not evolve as ongoing efforts to grasp the gravity each dimension exerts on concrete forms of political, economic, and cultural life, and how the force of each depends on the constant exchange of energy with the other two. To the extent that scrutinizing the impact of globalization on the future – find possible futures – of human civilization is the primary challenge for social scientists to confront today, the current condition presents a unique, and perhaps most unusual opportunity to conceive anew the promise of each and all the social sciences, as elucidating how the complex, contingent, and contradictory nature of modern societies, in the name of advancing social justice, has engendered a regime of managing “social problems.”

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The Vitality Of Critical Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-798-8

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Book part
Publication date: 6 November 2015

Moishe Postone

To demonstrate that, at its core, Marx’s critical theory is not a critique of a mode of class exploitation that distorts modernity, undertaken from a standpoint that…

Abstract

Purpose

To demonstrate that, at its core, Marx’s critical theory is not a critique of a mode of class exploitation that distorts modernity, undertaken from a standpoint that affirms labor, but rather one that uncovers and analyzes a unique form of social mediation and domination that structures modernity itself as a historically specific form of social life.

Methodology/approach

Critical reconstruction, interpretation, and application of Marx’s critique of political economy as developed in the Grundrisse and Capital, to the massive global transformations of the past four decades.

Findings

Marx’s critical analysis is well-suited to function as the foundation for a theory that systematically illuminates modern society in the 21st century. It is more conducive to grasping the contemporary world than traditional Marxism or most versions of post-Marxism.

Originality/value

The historical transformations of the past century suggest the central significance of a critique of capitalism for an adequate critical theory today. Such a critique must be capable of grasping the core of a social formation that is generative of a peculiar dynamic of identity and non-identity, of pointing beyond itself while reasserting itself. It indicates that the realization of the possibility of the abolition of proletarian labor is a necessary response to a deep structural crisis of capitalism.

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Globalization, Critique and Social Theory: Diagnoses and Challenges
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-247-4

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Abstract

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Corbynism: A Critical Approach
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-372-0

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Book part
Publication date: 6 November 2015

Asafa Jalata and Harry F. Dahms

To examine whether indigenous critiques of globalization and critical theories of modernity are compatible, and how they can complement each other so as to engender more…

Abstract

Purpose

To examine whether indigenous critiques of globalization and critical theories of modernity are compatible, and how they can complement each other so as to engender more realistic theories of modern society as inherently constructive and destructive, along with practical strategies to strengthen modernity as a culturally transformative project, as opposed to the formal modernization processes that rely on and reinforce modern societies as structures of social inequality.

Methodology/approach

Comparison and assessment of the foundations, orientations, and implications of indigenous critiques of globalization and the Frankfurt School’s critical theory of modern society, for furthering our understanding of challenges facing human civilization in the twenty-first century, and for opportunities to promote social justice.

Findings

Modern societies maintain order by compelling individuals to subscribe to propositions about their own and their society’s purportedly “superior” nature, especially when compared to indigenous cultures, to override observations about the de facto logic of modern societies that are in conflict with their purported logic.

Research implications

Social theorists need to make consistent efforts to critically reflect on how their own society, in terms of socio-historical circumstances as well as various types of implied biases, translates into research agendas and propositions that are highly problematic when applied to those who belong to or come from different socio-historical contexts.

Originality/value

An effort to engender a process of reciprocal engagement between one of the early traditions of critiquing modern societies and a more recent development originating in populations and parts of the world that historically have been the subject of both constructive and destructive modernization processes.

Details

Globalization, Critique and Social Theory: Diagnoses and Challenges
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-247-4

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2009

Jonathan Murphy

The purpose of this paper is to argue for more widespread and consistent engagement of critical management scholars in influencing policy debates on globalisation, social…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue for more widespread and consistent engagement of critical management scholars in influencing policy debates on globalisation, social and economic justice, and the proper role of international business.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores the reasons that critical management studies (CMS) scholars have been relatively absent from the policy debate surrounding the global economic crisis beginning in 2007. It begins by reviewing the opportunities for policy engagement provided by the crisis, and outlining some of the notable contributions to the debate that have been made by critical management scholars. The paper lists and discusses six factors that need to be addressed if CMS is to have a bigger practical policy impact in the future.

Findings

The paper asserts that the critical management scholarly community could have been more effective in the contemporary global economic crisis. Some common policy objectives need to be settled upon, including a global focus on egalitarianism. There is a need to move beyond the exhausted epistemological debate between Marxism and post‐structuralism, and to pay more attention to practical policy impact. CMS scholars should resist academic narrow‐casting, keep a focus on meta‐narratives, and treat each other more collegially.

Originality/value

The paper encourages discussion within the critical management scholarly community on the need for engagement in practical policy debate and advocacy.

Details

Critical perspectives on international business, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

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Book part
Publication date: 9 March 2016

Abstract

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Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-946-6

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