Anthropological Criticism: An Essay

Anthropological criticism refers, broadly speaking, to a form of criticism that situates the making, dissemination and reception of literature within the conventions and cultural practices of human societies. Such an undertaking has become increasingly suspect in the twentieth century as critiques of the idea of the centred subject and of a stable field of knowledge… Read More Anthropological Criticism: An Essay

Sigmund Freud and the Trauma Theory

Although Sigmund Freud himself inaugurated this field of study, he subsequently abandoned it. Early in his career, he assumed that a history of sexual seduction in childhood was responsible for the neurotic symptoms he Feminist criticism and psychoanalysis  observed in his patients. Gradually, however, he moved away from a one-to-one formulation of the relationship of… Read More Sigmund Freud and the Trauma Theory

The Literary Criticism of Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), English poet, literary critic, and essayist, perceived reformative tendencies accompanying the burgeoning development of industrial society in nineteenth-century England that threatened the wavering hegemonic apparatus of secular and ecclesiastical order, and hindered the appreciation and expression of cultural ideals that would access a smoother course for personal and social advancement in troubled… Read More The Literary Criticism of Matthew Arnold

Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt

German born (although naturalised American) political philosopher, who contributed significantly to the analysis of totalitarianism, and the fate of Jewry in the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) is perhaps best known for a single utterance, her response to the Nazi Adolf Eichmann standing trial: ‘the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil‘ (1963a). This… Read More Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt

Key Theories of Theodor Adorno

German philosopher, sociologist and musicologist who was a leading member (and eventually director) of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (the institutional basis of the Frankfurt School of German critical theory),  Theodor Adorno’s (1903-1969) work may be understood as an attempt to develop a Marxist theory of twentieth-century capitalism (Adorno 1987). Theodor Adorno follows Lukacs… Read More Key Theories of Theodor Adorno

The Sociology of Norbert Elias

German-born sociologist, who held academic posts in Germany, the United Kingdom, Ghana and the Netherlands, Norbert Elias‘s (1897-1990) approach to sociological inquiry is characterised by the use of highly detailed historical study, so that even theoretical questions are addressed in a highly concrete manner. His work covers such diverse issues as death (Elias 1985), time… Read More The Sociology of Norbert Elias

Cultural Anthropology of Clifford Geertz

Clifford Geertz’s (1926- 2006) work defined the field of interpretive social science, and he is regarded as one of the most influential and widely cited American cultural anthropologists of the second half of the twentieth century.  He has championed interpretative approaches to the study of cultures. His central, and surprisingly bold, claim is that anthropology concerns the… Read More Cultural Anthropology of Clifford Geertz