Beyond Friend and Foe

The Politics of Critical Theory


This book provides a thematic account of the changing political philosophy of critical theorists from Adorno to Habermas and Honneth. In addition to teasing out unexplored elements of political thought from the writings of important Frankfurt School intellectuals and their successors, the book seeks to establish the relevance of this tradition for contemporary political theory. Readers are offered an inside perspective, developed out of primary texts including some hitherto unused sources, which is combined with the outside perspective of non-Frankfurt School traditions such as cultural sociology. Heins presents a fresh reading of Critical Theory in ways that remind us both of what this theory is and what it can be.
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Biographical Note

Volker Heins, Ph.D. (1988) in political science, Goethe University Frankfurt, is a researcher at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and a faculty fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. His recent publications include Nongovernmental Organizations in International Society: Struggles over Recognition (2008).

Table of contents

Introduction: Critical Theory and the Political

Chapter One
Knowing the Worst: Critical Theory as Trauma Narrative

Chapter Two
From Factions to Rackets: The Traps of Conspiracy Thinking

Chapter Three
Flâneurs without Borders: Benjamin and the Cultural Politics of Travel Writing

Chapter Four
Meanings of Barbarism: Civil Society and Its Others

Chapter Five
Orientalizing America: Habermas and the Changing Discourse of Europe

Chapter Six
Age of Access? The Place of Property in Critical Theory

Chapter Seven
Realizing Honneth: Redistribution, Recognition, and Global Justice

Chapter Eight
From Persons to Peoples: The Politics of Recognition in International Society


All those interested in critical social and political theory, intellectual history and contemporary continental philosophy.


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