Definition of critical theory in US English:

critical theory

noun

  • A philosophical approach to culture, and especially to literature, that seeks to confront the social, historical, and ideological forces and structures that produce and constrain it. The term is applied particularly to the work of the Frankfurt School.

    • ‘The third ‘science’ he considers is critical theory.’
    • ‘Another ideology, contrasting with, though sometimes overlapping, that of social justice is critical theory.’
    • ‘A third position might insist on a new approach in which critical theory explores a new role within, not outside, the growing nexus of cultural markets and the arts.’
    • ‘Is there any online board or blog dealing with issues of European critical theory or cultural history?’
    • ‘Novelists are hip to critical theory as well, particularly now that so many of them spend less time in cafes than classrooms, the royalties from their art insufficient to cover the cost of a latte.’
    • ‘According to this view, we need to change the structural status of the critical agent in order to generate critical theory.’
    • ‘I see it in the move I can chart from my student days, a move from an investigative historical mode to an analytical mode driven by critical theory.’
    • ‘The argument is that critical theory is critical theory, even when it is applied to graphic design.’
    • ‘The critical theory of the Frankfurt School was one attempt, or a family of attempts, to develop this idea.’
    • ‘His primary areas of interest are modern and contemporary literature, drama, and critical theory.’
    • ‘How should we reconsider the relationship between critical theory and Asian American texts?’
    • ‘He had no interest in critical theory, and a poor sense of structure.’
    • ‘By addressing such issues, her work promises to be a major contribution to critical theory as a whole, and Native American critical theory in particular.’
    • ‘Section three examines the theoretical backlash against these after 1945 in the form of existentialism, critical theory and postmodernism.’
    • ‘We are not in the habit of using semantics, textual analysis, critical theory and metaphors.’
    • ‘The main theories dealt with are: normative theory, feminist theory, critical theory, historical sociology and post-modernism.’
    • ‘Both envision critical theory as a constructive, not just a deconstructive project.’
    • ‘It is much more difficult for Italian American women writers to get their poetry collections, novels, plays, and critical theory to be published.’
    • ‘There is, however, considerable unease about the implications of critical theory, social ecology and some varieties of deep ecology.’
    • ‘She has published widely in the area of cinema studies, philosophy, critical theory and cultural studies.’

Pronunciation

critical theory

/ˈkrɪdəkəl ˈθɪəri/