The Theory of Communicative Action

The Theory of Communicative Action : Lifeworld and Systems, a Critique of Functionalist Reason, Volume 2

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This study offers a systematic reconstruction of the theoretical foundations and framework of critical social theory. It is Habermas' "magnum opus", and it is regarded as one of the most important works of modern social thought. In this second and final volume of the work, Habermas examines the relations between action concepts and systems theory and elaborates a framework for analyzing the developmental tendencies of modern societies. He discusses in detail the work of Marx, Durkheim, G.H. Mead and Talcott Parsons, among others. By distinguishing between social systems and what he calls the "life-world", Habermas is able to analyze the ways in which the development of social systems impinges upon the symbolic and subjective dimensions of social life, resulting in the kind of crises, conflicts and protest movements which are characteristic of advanced capitalist societies in the late-20th century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 457 pages
  • 159 x 232 x 26mm | 670g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • Revised ed.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0745607705
  • 9780745607702
  • 68,276

Table of contents

Part 5 The paradigm shift in Mead and Durkheim: from purposive activity to communicative action; the foundations of social science in the theory of communication; the authority of the sacred and the normative background of communicative action; the rational structure of the linguistification of the sacred. Part 6 Intermediate reflections: system and lifeworld; the concept of the lifeworld and the hermeneutic idealism of interpretive sociology; the uncoupling of system and lifeworld. Part 7 Talcott Parsons: problems in constructing a theory of society; from a normativistic theory of action to a systems theory of society; the develpment of systems theory; the theory of modernity. Part 8 Concluding reflections - from Parsons via Weber to Marx: a backward glance - Weber's theory of modernity; Marx and the thesis of internal colonization; the tasks of a critical theory of society.
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About Jürgen Habermas

Jurgen Habermas is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theories on communicative rationality and the public sphere. In 2014, Prospect readers chose Habermas as one of their favourites among the "world's leading thinkers". Thomas McCarthy is the author of The Theory of Communicative Action: Lifeworld and Systems, a Critique of Functionalist Reason, Volume 2, published by Wiley.
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419 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 36% (151)
4 31% (129)
3 24% (99)
2 8% (34)
1 1% (6)
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