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The Urgency of Critical Theory Today: Towards Optimism and Renewal in a Neoliberal World

Burton, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-4531-9413, Outhwaite, W. and Susen, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-0643-1891 (2021). The Urgency of Critical Theory Today: Towards Optimism and Renewal in a Neoliberal World. Berlin Journal of Critical Theory, 5(2), pp. 141-167.


This article takes the form of a critical conversation between three generations of critical theorists, examining the role of critical theory in the neoliberal academy: does this sort of intellectual project still have a place in an academic and educational system that tends to favour empirical research and policy-driven projects? Through a discussion of the relationship between critical theory and power, privilege, and positionality, the article addresses the ongoing urgency of such intellectual activities in the present context. The dialogue between the three participants acknowledges critical theory’s historical, and continuing, fragility within the university, while elucidating the ways that it can provide a vehicle for challenging dominant forms of power. In doing so, this cross-generational exchange demonstrates that critical theory remains a vital space of rebellion, optimism, and social change.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
Date available in CRO: 21 Oct 2021 09:11
Date deposited: 21 October 2021
Date of acceptance: 16 August 2021
Date of first online publication: 2021
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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