>Habermas is Habermas, 'nough said.

On Mon, Mar 11, 1996 3:09:36 AM at jln wrote:

>Habermas is Habermas, 'nough said.

Hmmm... Habermas is certainly habermas.... but, as someone who tends to
line up with Foucault against the Habermafian (not a typo) critique, I'm
experimenting with a new more sympathetic reading of ole Jurgen. I
recently read "structural transformations of the public sphere" for the
first time, and am currently going through "theory of communicative
action"..... and trying to set aside what have by now become knee jerk
responses to Habermassian "totalizing discourse", or the "ideology of
communicative clarity" and so on.

I mean, his history of the western public sphere is not in itself a bad
thing. He is quite rightly critical of an over hasty tendency on the part
of marxists and critical theorists to conclude that capitalists modes of
production, rising out of bourgeois enlightenment, immediately turns
enlightenment against itself as it rationalizes/colonizes the subjective
world. Habermas inserts an intermediate phase in this developmental
process, a sphere of bourgeois rational-critical debate, which, as he
describes, is both the product of capitalist developments and supercedes
the horizons of these developments.

Is this really such a bad thing? Okay, maybe the conclusions he draws from
this discovery (that such spheres of rational critical debate can be
isolated and defended throughout societies, modern western or not) are
frighteningly "totalitarian" as Lyotard calls him. But, is there a way to
make use of Habermas's history of the bourgeois world that escapes an
ahistoricizing-essentializing of rational communication?

just curious.



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