European Journal of Social Theory 24 (4):507-525 (2021)

While the critique of neoliberalism, as the form of contemporary capitalism, has been advanced from Marxian and Foucauldian perspectives, it has had limited attention from the perspective of Critical Theory. Largely unrecognized is the suitability of the theory of reification for this critique, specifically, Habermas’s version. This article reconsiders Habermas’s colonization thesis as the basis for a critical theory of neoliberalism, refining its theoretical framework to deepen its critical diagnosis. Against the dismissal of the system–lifeworld concept, a novel critique is advanced to suggest its original elaboration fell confusedly between two versions of social systems theory. Drawing from late developments, the scheme is reinterpreted as distinguishing two forms of communication in capitalist society: delinguistified and linguistic. This opens the way to reframe and communicatively transform colonization as relinguistification; that is, the translation of monetary coding into ordinary language such that communicative action is distorted from within by reifying concepts.
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DOI 10.1177/1368431020970780
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A Brief History of Neoliberalism.David Harvey - 2005 - Oxford University Press.

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