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Communicative action
a term coined by Jürgen Habermas to refer to open discussion within a public forum, with the potential to change political systems and societies.
Critical pedagogy
the application of the insights of critical theory to pedagogy; the belief that all education should be in service of disrupting oppressive systems of power in all their forms.
Critical race theory
approaches the concept of race as a social construct and examines how race has been defined by the power structure.
Critical theory
any method of assessing and challenging the power structures of societies; also refers to the various theoretical approaches to assessing and challenging power structures associated with the Institute for Social Research (Frankfurt School).
a method of connecting the meaning of a text to the social forces at play in its creation; a strategy for analyzing the ways in which humans create objects and essential ideas where they don’t naturally exist.
Dialectic method
Hegel’s understanding of history as a movement created by the interaction between a thesis (an original state) and a force countering that original state (antithesis), resulting in a new and higher state (synthesis).
Dialectical materialism
a revision of Hegel’s dialectic method proposed by Karl Marx, which identities the contradictions within material, real-world phenomena as the driving force of historical change.
the process of making meaning out of texts and dialogues.
Frankfurt School
another name for the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt; also refers to an amalgam of thinkers affiliated with the Institute for Social Research.
the study and theory of interpretation of texts, including not only a linguistic analysis but also a background investigation into how the context that gives birth to a text affects how it can and should be interpreted.
the process of verification of the events said to be historical.
Linguistic turn
a term used to signify a movement beginning in the early 20th century focusing on the philosophical value of verifiable, logically consistent statements as providing objective information about the universe; associated with analytic philosophy.
the first-person study of how the “phenomena” of the world impact the consciousness, in contrast and response to philosophical schools of thought that start philosophical reflection with the realm of ideas.
the third stage for the development of societies proposed by August Comte, in which people reject religion and focus only on things that can be proven.
views supporting the idea that the world cannot be interpreted through preexisting structures because there are no such existing structures; the idea that the universe is a confluence of forces that are given different meanings by human and nonhuman agents over time.
the philosophical perspective that there is no absolute truth to the universe, leaving no grand objective narratives to categorize and structure the world (as in modernism) but everything to individual interpretation; the idea that truth is perspective.
the attempt to cure mental illnesses by uncovering the unconscious elements that are said to be the foundation of human behavior.
term for a method of public self-analysis proposed by Mao Tse-Tung as a means to achieve personal and societal improvement.
an analysis of how meaning is created through symbols, both linguistic and nonlinguistic.
the belief that the universe has a certain objective structure to it and that language indicates this structure; the belief that in order to understand individual parts of the universe, one must understand their place in the overarching structure of things.
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