What Is Critical Theory In Communication

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A Reflection on Critical Theories in Communication and Media:
Critical Discourse of Empowerment
(FMA 3b)

Critical theory is useful in the study of communication and media with respect to the discourse of empowerment and the related concept of emancipation and political correctness and whose roots can be traced to Marxism as adapted by the Frankfurt school. Specifically, critical theory offers frameworks for analyzing the complexities and contradictions of marginalization and resistance in societies. According to Littlejohn and Foss (2009, p. 237), critical theory is not a theory proper but a set of complementary theoretical frames that examine structures of domination in society in order to open possibilities for the emancipation of people, meanings, and values. Further, that critical theory is primarily oriented towards people and critical theorists view social life and lived experience as the subject of inquiry for analysis and interpretation with the hope that they might find ways to shape societies to be more open and equitable for marginalized groups. At first, as a person trained in the scientific method, I would disagree that there exists “critical theories” that can assist us understand and explain communication and media phenomena but after the readings I realized that indeed there is a set of theories under the critical theory framework that are not only explanatory, as traditional theories are, but also emancipatory in nature. The topic and the corresponding
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