Thinking through feeling
Critical theory and the affective turn
in Critical theory and feeling
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This chapter situates the affective turn and the new materialisms within a wider context of the 'post-critical'. For affect theorists, the prevailing modes of social, cultural and political critique are beholden to the systems of signification, discourse, coding/decoding, ideology, and so on, all of which are preceded by affective phenomena and dispositions. Like the advent of new materialism, the 'affective turn' has developed in part through the rhetorical construction of a hegemonic obstacle, an all-powerful behemoth that only a few visionary critics and theorists are capable of defeating. As one of the most influential strands of what Perry Anderson labeled 'Western Marxism', critical theory, in its originary form, is primarily associated with the work of the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt School situates itself in opposition to both the excessively doctrinaire approaches of Marxism in its Second and Third International form, and the politically deficient subjectivism represented by phenomenology and existentialism.

Critical theory and feeling

The affective politics of the early Frankfurt School


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