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Critical Theory and Methodology
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Critical Theory and Methodology

  • Raymond A. Morrow - University of Alberta - Edmonton, Canada, University of Alberta, Canada
  • David D. Brown - University of Lethbridge, Canada, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA

Volume: 3
Other Titles in:
Qualitative Research

July 2012 | 390 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Critical Theory traces its roots from Marxism, through the renowned Frankfurt School, to a wide array of national and cultural traditions. Raymond Morrow's book traces the history and outlines the major tenets of critical theory for an undergraduate audience. He exemplifies the theory through an analysis of two leading social theorists: J[um]urgen Habermas and Anthony Giddens. Unique to this volume is the emphasis on the link between Critical Theory and empirical research and social science methodology, often thought to be incompatible.
 
PART ONE: METATHEORY: GROUNDING METHOD
 
Introduction
What is Critical Theory?  
 
Foundations of Metatheory
Between Subjectivism and Objectivism  
 
Postempiricist Critiques of Positivism and Empiricism
 
PART TWO: CRITICAL THEORY AS A RESEARCH PROGRAM
 
Early Critical Theory as a Research Program
An Historical Introduction  
 
Postempiricist Metatheory and the Human Sciences
Interim Developments  
 
The Metatheory of Critical Theory
Beyond Objectivism and Relativism  
 
Contemporary Critical Theory as a Resarch Program
Giddens and Habermas  
 
PART THREE: CRITICAL THEORY AND EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
 
Deconstructing the Conventional Discourse of Methodology
Quantitative versus Qualitative Methods  
 
Non-Empirical Methods
Reflexive Procedures  
 
Empirical Procedures in Critical Research
 
Contexts of Critical Empirical Research
 
Critical Social Science and Society
Theory and Practice  

Until recently James Bohman’s New Philosophy of Social Science was the major text that engaged the relationship between contemporary critical theory and the methodology of social science. Raymond Morrow’s work is a welcome addition to such analysis. Indeed in many ways it is a better text for introducing the subject. Whilst Bohman’s study tended to assume quite a substantive knowledge base Morrow’s text is instantly lively and accessible making it a text that can be used at all levels of higher educational learning.
Starting with a lucid introduction to the history of critical theory and its intent, Morrow moves on to discuss what make critical theory so distinctive, specifically because of its understanding and analysis of how power affects all dimension of human life. Importantly this critique, unlike many other contemporary variants, also has a political –ethical intent. Stemming back to the Enlightenment critique of superstition, contemporary critical theory seeks to remove those assumed beliefs and practices that work against human liberation.
This point echo’s through every aspect of the work. Indeed for everyone who is interested in both the practice of critical theory, and its contemporary relevance, this work is unsurpassable. All arguments a lucid, clear and assume little prior engagement with the subject matter. Importantly Morrow clearly shows how the methodology of critical theory is applicable across the whole of the social sciences. I will certainly recommend this work

Dr James Howley
Expressive arts and media, North East Worcestershire College
November 17, 2011

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Raymond A. Morrow

David D. Brown

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ISBN: 9780803946835
$88.00 

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