Communicative Rationality and Desire

Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1984 (61):152-158 (1984)
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Abstract

Over the past three years or so, Telos and New German Critique have opened a debate in which Habermas's theory of communicative rationality has been counterposed to the ‘aesthetic-sensual forms of subjectivity’ advocated by certain French theorists, who have come to be known as the ‘post-structuralists’. Among the latter, the most significant figures are Michel Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. This confrontation between theories of desire and theories of communicative rationality is perhaps only just beginning, but already it has made a creative contribution to the development of social theory, and more importantly, it has helped — in conjunction with the new social movements (feminism, the peace movement, the ecology movement) — to clarify some practical issues involved in the task of building a new political culture.

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