Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 December 2020
The main purpose of this chapter is to provide a summary of the main intellectual contributions that the German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas has made to contemporary social theory. To this end, the chapter provides an overview of his life and career; principal areas of research; conception of critical theory; interpretation of relevant intellectual traditions; and his plea for a paradigm shift, commonly known as the “linguistic turn.” The final section grapples with the main limitations and shortcomings of Habermas’s oeuvre, notably with regard to his theory of communicative action.
Simon Susen is Professor of Sociology at City, University of London. He is an Associate Member of the Bauman Institute and, together with Bryan S. Turner, editor of the Journal of Classical Sociology.