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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to critical theory:

Critical theory – examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism. This has led to the very literal use of 'critical theory' as an umbrella term to describe any theory founded upon critique.

Essence of critical theory

Branches of critical theory

Gender studies

Main article: Gender studies
  • Lauren Berlant
  • Judith Butler
  • Susan McClary
    • Susan McClary's constructions of subjectivity in Franz Schubert's music
  • Laura Mulvey

Marxist theory

Main article: Marxist philosophy


Main article: Postcolonialism
  • Chinua Achebe
    • An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"
  • Homi Bhabha
  • Frantz Fanon
    • Dual consciousness
  • Edward Said
    • Orientalism


Main article: Structuralism


Main article: Post-structuralism


Main article: Deconstruction
  • Geoffrey Bennington
  • Hélène Cixous
  • Jonathan Culler
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Werner Hamacher
  • Geoffrey Hartman
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe
  • Jean-François Lyotard
  • Paul de Man
  • J. Hillis Miller
  • Jean-Luc Nancy
  • Christopher Norris
  • Avital Ronell
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


Main article: Postmodernism


Main article: Reconstructivism

Psychoanalytic theory

Main article: Psychoanalytic theory

Queer theory

Main article: Queer theory


Main article: Semiotics

Cultural anthropology

Main article: Cultural anthropology

Theories of identity

Linguistical theories of literature

  • Mary Louise Pratt

Major works

  • Bloch, Ernst (1938-'47). The Principle of Hope
  • Fromm, Erich (1941). The Fear of Freedom (UK)/Escape from Freedom (US)
  • Horkheimer, Max; Adorno, Theodor W. (1944/'47) Dialectic of Enlightenment
  • Barthes, Roland (1957). Mythologies
  • Habermas, Jürgen (1962). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere
  • Marcuse, Herbert (1964). One-Dimensional Man
  • Adorno, Theodor W. (1966) Negative Dialectics
  • Derrida, Jacques (1967). Of Grammatology
  • Derrida, Jacques (1967). Writing and Difference
  • Habermas, Jürgen (1981). The Theory of Communicative Action
  • Mohan, Brij (2005). Reinventing Social Work

Major theorists

Main article: List of critical theorists

See also

  • The Frankfurt School

External links

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