Ingo Elbe

Habermas’s Critique of the Production Paradigm

Jürgen Habermas’s project of a reformulation of critical social theory was from the very beginning characterized by a confrontation with Marx and the Marxist tradition. In particular, their concepts of labor, production, and social synthesis repeatedly gained Habermas’s attention and became objects of his critique. The rejection of what later came to be called the “production paradigm” occurred at three levels: in terms of social theory, Habermas doubts that a sufficient concept of social unity can be obtained through the concept of labor; in terms of social philosophy, Habermas complains about the meager normative potential of the concept of labor; and sociologically, the relevance of labor as a leading category in the epoch of late capitalism is called into question. In the following, I wish to concentrate upon the dimension of social theory.

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In: Gabriel Ricci (ed.): The Persistence of Critical Theory, vol. 8 of Culture & Civilization. Transaction Publisher 2017