At first glance, critical theory appears to be quite negative. It sounds like a tool of analysis to denigrate things, people, and ideas. Criticism is something many associate with negativity, disparagement, and disapproval, yet despite the severe name, critical theory is very useful to the study of communication. Specifically, critical theory offers frameworks to analyze the complexities and contradictions of marginalization and resistance in societies. It is important to note at the outset that critical theory is not a theory proper but a set of complementary theoretical frames that examine structures of domination in society in order to open possibilities for the emancipation of people, meanings, and values. This two-pronged approach means that critical theorists see theory and action as inextricably interwoven. Critical theory is also oriented toward people, meaning that critical theorists use social life and lived experience as the site of inquiry for analysis and interpretation with the hope that they might find ways to make societies more open and equitable for marginalized groups. Finally, critical theorists are interested in the discursive and material practices of oppression and resistance. To understand how critical theorists arrive at this intellectual focus, this entry will discuss the historical emergence of critical theory, the primary concepts of critical theory, the contemporary forms of criticism in critical theory, and the applications of critical theory in communication studies.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.306

Penanggungjawab naskah :

Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan