Intended for academics and students in social theory, sociology and social philosophy, this book assesses critical theory, particularly that of Jurgen Habermas, and describes the challenges posed to contemporary critical theory by global social change. The fundamental concepts of Habermas' critical theory are outlined and ideas such as the public sphere, communicative action, and the colonization of the lifeworld analyzed. The author also examines the insights that critical theory can offer global analysis, and the challenges to critical theory from global social change. In a detailed discussion of post-Communist Eastern Europe, Islamic revivalism in Iran, and the liberation struggle in South Africa, the author argues that modernity is poised between the threat of authoritarian politics of identity and the promise of new democratic communicative organiztions.
`This volume is a preliminary but welcome attempt to extend the analysis of Critical Theory beyond its familiar terrain of Western Europe and North America.... Ray makes a valuable contribution by emphasizing that the colonization of the lifeworld can produce not only movements which challenge the existing system of regulation, but those which aim to protect it as well.... Ray surely has accomplished his modest goal of `opening up analysis to productive interrogation'' - Political Studies
`Will be of interest both to social theorists and to comparative sociologists and while it may be different parts of the book which attract their initial interest, readers will be repaid for following the argument through to its conclusion' - British Journal of Sociology
`Ray's revision of Habermas's critical theory is profound and a success' - Choice