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Positivism, postmodernism, or critical theory? A case study of communications students’ understandings of criticism

Fuchs, C. and Sandoval, M. (2008). Positivism, postmodernism, or critical theory? A case study of communications students’ understandings of criticism. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 6(2), pp. 112-141.

Abstract

Neoliberalism has resulted in a large-scale economization and capitalization of society that has also permeated the academic system. The paper at hand provides the result of a case study that analyzed how students, who are today frequently confronted by the combination of studying and precarious labour and insecure job perspectives, assess the importance of critical thinking. As a theoretical foundation, a distinction between positivistic, postmodern, and Marxian critique is drawn and discussed. Students of communication science at the University of Salzburg were asked to read a focus text by Herbert Marcuse that deals with the notion of critique and to write short essays afterwards, in order to reflect on the notion of critique that is needed today. 52 answer texts were analyzed by the method of quantifying qualitative content analysis. The results show the predominance of a positivistic understanding of critique and provide implications for curricula design and pedagogical action.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/14325
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