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u/noveltymc · 5 pointsr/CriticalTheory

Pretty clumsy altogether. There's a bit too many 'half-quotes' and unfounded assertions (McLuhan as fascist? Nope). Here's just one--

>The same man who claimed, in 1963, that our era “is the greatest in human history” had been decrying, only a few years before,

The full quote (unless the article, which doesn't cite a source, is using a different one) is from 1968 in a televised panel interview with Malcolm Muggeridge, Norman Mailer & Robert Fulford:

>McLuhan: Well, for heaven’s sake, this present time we’re moving into, this electric age, is the dawn of much the greatest of all human ages. There’s nothing to even remotely resemble the scope of human
awareness and human –

>Fulford: Now that's a value judgment.

>McLuhan: No, this is quantity. Most people make their judgments in terms of quality. I’m merely saying, quantitatively, this is by far the greatest human age. What further valuations would you wish to make?

>Fulford: Oh, I thought when you said “greatest” you meant the finest, that is –

>McLuhan: No.

Just as Neil Postman, WIRED, Douglas Coupland and the rest of McLuhans 'disciples' (whether they are 'general semanticists' or 'transhumanists') did not understand him one bit, nor do his critics then or now.

Any confusion as to Marshall's intention with his work stemmed from his image. He was, at the heart of it, a Renaissance scholar who desperately sought after a return of Grammar school in the Trivial sense - as the millenium-spanning tradition of learning faded out of fashion in Queen Elizabeth's England.

>“I am resolutely opposed to all innovation, all change, but I am determined to understand what’s happening. Because I don’t choose just to sit and let the juggernaut roll over me. Many people seem to think that if you talk about something recent, you’re in favor of it. The exact opposite is true in my case. Anything I talk about is almost certainly something I’m resolutely against. And it seems to me the best way to oppose it is to understand it. And then you know where to turn off the buttons.”

Anybody who hopes to seriously understand where Marshall was coming from (still quite saliently) ought to read his PhD thesis, which was just recently published - along with Media & Formal Cause.

u/Expurgate · 5 pointsr/CriticalTheory

This website is rather painful to use on a modern web browser, but has clearly written and illustrative definitions of various types of critical theory, as well as descriptions of figures of interest and their work.

If you'd like an introductory overview of the primary genres of critical theory that goes into somewhat more depth and includes suggested readings, I can recommend Lois Tyson's Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Tyson makes it very accessible by repeatedly analyzing The Great Gatsby through the lens of each theory, which is extremely helpful for understanding the "big picture" of what each tends to focus on.

Welcome to the rabbit hole! :)

u/Xram-Lrak · 5 pointsr/CriticalTheory

On the likes of Moeller van den Broeck and Ernst Jünger, and the cultural-political movement they belonged to (the Conservative Revolution), there are three classic works. There is The Politics of Cultural Despair by Fritz Stern, Germany's New Conservatism by Klemens von Klemperer, and The Crisis of German Ideology by George L. Mosse.

On the French Nouvelle Droite (De Benoist and Faye), there are really only two books in English which touch on the subject. These are Tamir Bar-On's Where have all the fascists gone? and Rethinking the French New Right. Both books by Bar-On do not really discuss the intellectual heritage of the Nouvelle Droite, so there isn't much about Nietzsche and the conservative revolutionaries (which is a weakness of these books), but they're still useful if you want to know what the deal is with the Nouvelle Droite. If you can read French, I'd suggest reading Pierre-André Taguieff's Sur la Nouvelle Droite.

To my knowledge there isn't really a large body of literature in English on Julius Evola. There is however one important book by Mark Sedgwick, called Against the Modern World, which is about Traditionalism. While the book isn't specifically about Evola, considering his traditionalist background he is still an important actor in the book.

Edit: Oh yeah, last month there appeared a book by Ronald Beiner, called Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right, which is about the way authors like Nietzsche and Heidegger are read by the radical right. While the book doesn't deny the greatness of both philosophers, it does claim that the attraction these authors present for the radical right, isn't completely unjustified: it has been the left who had to do most of the intellectual gymnastics in order to appropriate these authors for themselves, rather than the right.

u/EddieVisaProphet · 4 pointsr/CriticalTheory

If you want really excellent intro books then I definitely recommend Lois Tyson's Critical Theory Today. This has all the really important schools that are important right now, except eco-criticism, which is kind of a bummer. But I think the latter edition hits a little bit on it under postcolonial theory. This is a good intro text that has overview of what's going on.

Norton Anthology of Critical Theory was mentioned, and while this is an excellent anthology, it's huge and can be a bit complicated to read the actual source material without knowing about it before hand, but it's pretty nice being able to read the actual texts of different theorists. Similar to this is Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan's Literary Theory: An Anthology. While Norton's goes chronologically all the way back to Plato, Rivkin's text groups all the texts under the major schools so you get a comprehensive view of each one. It's worth mentioning though that Norton does have a secondary Table of Contents where they group the readings under school as well.

You mentioned wanting to know postmodernism, and that's another thing that Tyson's text doesn't include, as it's more of a movement instead of a criticism. An intro text similar to Tyson's that does include eco-criticism and postmodernism though is Peter Barry's Beginning Theory.

If you have very little knowledge of theory and criticism, I'd really recommend picking up Tyson's book and reading that so you get an overview of the text before moving on to an anthology. Like I said, the texts can be incredibly dense and difficult to read, and if you've never been exposed to them before it'll just make it even more difficult. Tyson's text also has suggested readings under each school as well to expand what you're reading.

u/mistafrankfrank · 3 pointsr/CriticalTheory

It sounds like you disagree and want to challenge his perspective, which might be a difficult task for a gift. Also I'm not sure why you think his interest in Marx and Lenin would be stifling to his intellectual thoughts...their writings contain a lot of historical analysis that is still relevant today.

Since he likes history & activism, maybe a book about the history of the socialist party would be better? Particularly a non-Soviet or more international socialist history. If you are in the USA, this book might be a good choice: The Socialist Party of America: A Complete History.

u/wrineha2 · 1 pointr/CriticalTheory

I don't known what your experience was like in NYC, but each of the different startup regions do have their own flavor. Austin isn't like NYC, which isn't like Seattle or San Francisco. I wonder how many people in NYC that you knew went to Burning Man. In the Bay, it is fairly common. Flashy shows of wealth aren't really a thing in SF like they are in NYC either. Pissing matches between the two scenes are actually fairly common. See this and this.

This is something I drafted a while back, which was edited and put into some piece or another, but basically highlights my point:
> From its earliest precursors, the Internet has had its evangelists. And the Silicon Valley offered a unique crucible. Deliberate and unintentional interactions among military researchers, academics, and corporate scientists helped to form the technical features of the medium.

> Meanwhile, the region was the center of the countercultural movement in the 1960s, the failings of which, wrapped into a technological optimism for the power of the networked computer. Along side its topological and programmatic development, discussions of its social, cultural, political and economic potential formed the ethical undergirding. Internet policy, especially the network neutrality debate, is made in the shadows of ideals set in this early era. Prime among those ideals is a profound faith in the technology’s emancipatory potential to boost democratic participation, trigger a renaissance of moribund communities, and strengthen associational life.

Maybe this is too much for your project, but I would look at doing a rhetoric construction of the concept of Silicon Valley. I know there is enough online to do this well. And perhaps this is just my distaste from some of the work I had to grade in grad school, but I always found this work far more intriguing.

This also reminds me. You might be looking in the wrong place for this. I would suggest going into the discipline of rhetoric/communication. Check out this, this, this this, and this. You should also check out Evgeny Morozov.

u/criticalnegation · 3 pointsr/CriticalTheory

You'll want to start with Critical Theory, Marxism and Modernity. If you like that and want to learn about the circus that followed, go on to Postmodern Theory and then The Postmodern Turn.

I love Doug Kellner. Accessible and concise.

Rick Roderick's lectures are also awesome :)

u/tiredvoyage · 2 pointsr/CriticalTheory

Indeed, Habermas asks why the European left-wing parties have not more aggressively critiqued the utterly inadequate individual nation-state efforts to reduce globalization's economic adversity on the citizens. But to prefer the existing political order I think misses the mark: The Lure of Technocracy (2015) is dedicated to enumerating the plethora of ways in which the EU democratic deficit of its institutions only compounds the impotence of the nation-states.

With regard to the radical left, The Inclusion of the Other (1996) ties in here:

> Radical feminism rightly insists that the appropriate interpretation of needs and criteria be a matter of public debate in the political public sphere. It is here that citizens must clarify the aspects that determine which differences between the experiences and living situations of (specific groups of) men and women are relevant for an equal opportunity to exercise individual liberties.

> The individual rights that are meant to guarantee to women the autonomy to pursue their lives in the private sphere cannot even be adequately formulated unless the affected persons themselves first articulate and justify in public debate those aspects that are relevant to equal or unequal treatment in typical cases. The private autonomy of equally entitled citizens can be secured only insofar as citizens actively exercise their civic autonomy.

The right-wing demagogues have stolen the Left's themes, winning over many of the “oppressed and disadvantaged for the false path of national isolation” by appealing to simplistic references drilled into the citizens by the nation-state: the ethno-national constitutional state par excellence, to be preserved only by the return of competencies to the national level and the protection of a majority culture dominating political discourse (more on this in The Inclusion of the Other).

It is only through substantial use of the discourse ethics paradigm and the wider implications of deliberative democracy that “the left-wing pro-globalisation agenda” can once again be “distinguished from the neoliberal agenda of political abdication to the blackmailing power of the banks and of the unregulated markets:”

> Genuine participation of citizens in the processes of political will-formation, that is, substantive [deliberative] democracy, would bring to consciousness the contradiction between administratively socialized production and the continued private appropriation and use of surplus value …

> The arrangement of formal democratic institutions and procedures permits administrative decisions to be made largely independently of specific motives of the citizens … while the citizenry, in the midst of an objectively political society, enjoy the status of passive citizens with only the right to withhold acclamation. ( Legitimation Crisis, 1973 )

u/bashfulkoala · 2 pointsr/CriticalTheory

For one of my literary theory classes in undergrad, we used this book. The author analyzes 'The Great Gatsby' through the lens of 10 or 12 critical frameworks. It was really illuminating, clear, and enjoyable to read. Lit theory is the focus, but it also provided a lot of insight into the fundamental ideas of the various critical perspectives that were highlighted. Definitely recommended.

Critical theory does tend to be cryptic, deliberately so in a lot of cases. You might enjoy Baudrillard's America. It's fairly accessible as far as his stuff goes, if you have a rudimentary understanding of his Hyperreal idea.

u/Marshmlol · 9 pointsr/CriticalTheory

Here is the textbook I used for my Critical Theory Class at UCLA. It's called the Norton Anthology of Critical Theory. While this is a good introduction to many theorists, I also suggest you to research supplemental materials on databases - ie. JSTOR - to understand movements/concepts.

There is also a comic book series that's descent depending on what you pick. While I enjoyed Foucault for Beginners, I hated Derrida for Beginners.

Lastly, Jonathan Culler's Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction is an excellent entry point. I actually met Culler when I visited Cornell. He's an awesome guy. Anyways, I think Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction should also be an excellent resource, although I haven't read it myself.

u/lespectador · 2 pointsr/CriticalTheory

My best advice is to try the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (it's expensive but you can get it from the library or buy it used - It takes the most important canonical excerpts from the most important canonical texts of theory and criticism starting basically with Plato. One advantage, as well, is that it has succinct, practical introductions to each author and text, contextualizing them, and also providing a decent bibliography for further reading. One really helpful thing for beginners is that it provides several ways of indexing/organizing the texts -- chronologically, but also by area of inquiry. Most theory beginners use this in their first Problems and Methods course.

u/beardo18 · 4 pointsr/CriticalTheory

I like The Society of the Spectacle for its contemporary relevance, but here's an essay that is a more direct interpretation of Marx's thought, which I think might serve as a good introduction:

For an introduction to critical theory per se, I recommend Douglas Kellner's Critical Theory, Marxism, and Modernity

Edit: formatting

u/dolmenmoon · 1 pointr/CriticalTheory

Being you're posting on the Critical Theory board, you're probably looking for something more philosophical/theoretical, but since you said you're open to all approaches, Perfecting Sound Forever by Greg Milner is one of my absolute favorite books.

u/gb997 · 1 pointr/CriticalTheory

i read this in less than a day i think. pretty informative considering how concise it is.

u/Psychotaxis · 1 pointr/CriticalTheory

I actually just started by reading a textbook that covered most major critical theories

u/movings · 3 pointsr/CriticalTheory

Maybe not what you're looking for, but the Norton Anthology of Critical Theory has an alternate table of contents within it that categorizes the readings not chronologically but by field.