CRITICAL APPROACHES TO WESTERN CAPITALISM IN SOCIAL THEORY AND THEIR OSCILLATIONS BETWEEN POLITICAL ECONOMY AND CULTURAL STUDIES

Abstract

Author(s): Fatih VAROL

The aim of this article is to exhibit main critical approaches to western capitalism in social theory and their directions. This article begins with Marx as the major the critique of western capitalism and shows the major aspects of his critical approach. After Marx, in the 20th century, the direction of the critical approaches to capitalism shifted from political economy to cultural sphere in social theory. Therefore, I focus on Gramsci, the Frankfurt School and Baudrillard to show the main tenets of cultural critique of western capitalism. In the final quarter of 20th century, political economy comes into prominence because of the collapse of the welfare state and diminishing role of the state in the economy under the impact of the neoliberalization process. Thus, I examine David Harvey’s critical approach to contemporary capitalism because of that he represents the return of political economy in the critical approaches to capitalism

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