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Jürgen Habermas

Susen, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-0643-1891 (2021). Jürgen Habermas. In: Kivisto, P. (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Social Theory. Volume I: A Contested Canon. (pp. 369-394). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


This chapter provides a summary of the main intellectual contributions that the German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas has made to contemporary social theory. To this end, it is divided into six parts. The first part gives an overview of Habermas’s life and career. The second part offers a synopsis of Habermas’s principal areas of research, drawing attention to his key works. The third part sheds light on the epistemological assumptions underlying Habermas’s conception of critical theory. The fourth part explains the central features of Habermas’s inter-pretation of three intellectual traditions that are crucial to his own theoretical project. The fifth part elucidates the core elements of Habermas’s plea for a paradigm shift –commonly known as the “linguistic turn”–in critical theory. The sixth part grapples with the main limitations and shortcomings of Habermas’s oeuvre, notably with regard to his theory of communicative action.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This material has been published in The Cambridge Handbook of Social Theory. Volume I: A Contested Canon edited by Peter Kivisto, This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © the author.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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