The Critical Theory of Lewis Mumford

By Eric Royal Lybeck.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Lewis Mumford was one of the last great American public intellectuals. He is remembered as an urbanist, art critic, historian, and sociologist, but no title fully captures his thought and work. Though often credited with founding the discipline of the History of Technology in his work Technics and Civilization (1934), Mumford was no unbiased fan. Rather, his attitude toward science, technology, and knowledge can be read as highly critical. When compared to another well-known group of critics - The Frankfurt School - the themes of domination, alienation, and the narrowness of knowledge in our modern mechanized world comes to the forefront of Mumford's writings. As the computers of the Information Age continue to extend into more and more realms of the social, Mumford's and the Frankfurt School's critique has become more relevant and important.

Keywords: Critical Theory, Lewis Mumford, Technology, Knowledge, Frankfurt School

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.91-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 634.946KB).

Eric Royal Lybeck

Graduate Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, USA

I am currently a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the Sociology Department. specializing in Political Economy. My Masters Thesis will be about warmaking as a fundamental political, economic, and industrial force that follows a logic separate from traditional economics because of its territorial and state-centered interests. I'll be drawing on the work of Charles Tilly and Lewis Mumford while critiquing the economic determinism of world systems theorists and Marxist economists like Baran and Sweezy. My other interests include the sociological work of Lewis Mumford and the recursive relationship between technology and society.

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