This article develops Jurgen Habermas' emphasis on critical theory as a means to retrieve the social and restore its place as a central concept in the social sciences. It argues that Habermas has been misinterpreted by varieties of thinkers across political, ideological, and intellectual domains; and has been misused by neo-conservatives and postmodernists in particular. Habermas' critical theory is driven by an emphasis on social and political praxis, and establishes the possibility of an authentic social existence. At the base of this existence is a solid moral order that defines human existence in terms of Reason rather than in terms of Power. In effect, civil society is possible when humanity can be free to engage in an informed political discourse that is based on shared understandings of legal and societal normative structures.
Retrieving Civil Society in a Postmodern EpochFaculty Publications
Department (Manual Entry)Dept. of Political Science
Date of Original Version1-1-1991
Source DataSocial Science Journal; 1991, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p307, 17p.
Citation InformationWeiner, R. R. (1991). Retrieving civil society in a postmodern epoch. Social Science Journal, 28(3), 307-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/0362-3319(91)90016-w