Social theory and critical theory

Publication Name

Routledge Handbook on Men, Masculinities and Organizations: Theories, Practices and Futures of Organizing


This chapter explores the development of and differentiation between social theory and critical theory in relation to men, masculinities and organizations. While it is often considered that in thinking of "the social" theoretically, there is an inherent imperative for such thought to be immediately critical, this tendency does lead to the development of critical theory within social theory, as well as critical social theory specifically. As such, the objective here will be to offer a diachronic analysis of the development of social theory and critical theory and how their synthesis has been enabled. It is of course impossible to offer a complete history of this development, so a more nuanced approach will be taken in which social and critical theory will be introduced before exploring the Enlightenment and the emergence of positivism. Then, a brief exploration of the mediatory approaches in the classical sociological theories of Marx and Weber ending with a discussion of hegemony in Gramsci's work. While the focus is not only on men, masculinities and organizations, this chapter offers concepts and arguments that either explicitly or implicitly provide background to the theme of this volume.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

First Page


Last Page




Link to publisher version (DOI)