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University of Wyoming

by Kathleen Kirsch

Frankfurt School- The name given to a group of German intellectuals associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt. The Institute was established in 1923. Following Hitler 's rise to power in 1933, the Institute was moved to New York and attached to the University of Columbia. In 1949 the Institute for Social Research moved back to Germany (Storey, 1993). The Frankfurt School had its roots in the political and economic realities of Germany between the Wars. These theorists prepared a social brief for knowledge, science and culture. The German critical theorists were deeply shaped by their experiences with Hitler. Their theory was rooted in the understanding of modern society, which included the culture of the society. This all needed to be examined critically if one were to understand modern society (Lemert, 1993).

Critical Theory- The name that is given to the Institute for Social Research 's critical mix of Marxism and Psychoanalysis (Storey, 1993). The Frankfurt School proposed critical theory as an alternative to both scientific Marxism and orthodox social science. Critical theory draws from the empirical disciplines to forge synthetic conceptions of society as a historically developing social whole. Critical theory aims to not only understand society but change it...the Frankfurt School analyzed the major sites of conflict and social crisis for the purpose of advocating political theory. Critical theory was to be a new type of human study: It would unite philosophy 's concern with synthetic analysis and the empiricism of the social sciences, animated by the moral intention of making theory into a force of human emancipation (Seidman, 1994).

Hegemony- Used to refer to a condition in process in which a dominant class(es) doesn 't merely rule but leads a society through the exertion of moral and intellectual leadership. It suggests a society in which there is a high degree of consensus, a large measure of social stability in which subordinate classes appear to actively support and subscribe to values, ideals, objectives, culture, meanings, which bind them to, incorporate them into, the prevailing power structure (Storey, 1993). It refers to a process within civil society whereby fundamental class exercises control through its moral and intellectual leadership over allied classes. Hegemony also points to the relationship between dominant class to utilize control over the resources of state and civil society, particularly the mass media and the educational system to establish its view of the world as all inclusive and universal (Gramsci, 1971; Giroux, 1981).

Dialogic- (communicative Learning) understanding what is being communicated and includes making moral decisions involving normative judgements. Meaning is validated through 'best judgement ' consensus arrived at through critical discourse (Mezirow, 1989).

Dialectics- The art and practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments. A method of argumentation that weighs contradictory facts or ideas with a view to resolve real or apparent contradictions. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Hermeneutics- The science of interpretation . Studying how human beings make meanings and reach a consensus. (Welton, 1993a).