Journal Article

Critical theory and the question of technology: The Frankfurt School revisited


Unlike the first generation of critical theorists, contemporary critical theory has largely ignored technology. This is to the detriment of a critical theory of society – technology is now a central feature of our daily lives and integral to the contemporary form of capitalism. Rather than seek to rescue the first generation’s substantive theory of technology, which has been partly outmoded by historical developments, the approach adopted in this article is to engage with today’s technology through the conceptual apparatus offered by the early Frankfurt School. This rationale is guided by the conviction that the core ideas of critical theory still offer a sound basis for assessing the nature of technology today. Through a reconstruction and engagement with some of the core concepts of first-generation critical theory, as well as the work of Bernard Stiegler and Andrew Feenberg, we can arrive at a more robust theory of technology, capable of critically interrogating the role of technology in contemporary society.

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Delanty, Gerard
Harris, Neal

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2021
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-03-24

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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