November 2010 Ireland in Turmoil – The Relevance of Habermas and the Theory of Communicative Action

It may seem odd to make a connection between the current upheavals – the political, economic and national identity crisis in Ireland – and the work of Jurgen Habermas, a German social philosopher and critical theorist born in 1929.  However, I believe that insights from the work of Habermas have something to offer by way of explanation for the current predicament in which we now find ourselves and more enticingly, may also provide useful pointers for our emancipation through discourse and communicative action. Habermas is still a very active writer and he comments regularly on political and social issues of our time. You can keep up to date with his outputs via the Habarmas forum website.  Of note also is that Habermas was a recent recipient of the Ulysses Medal conferred by UCD – an interesting interview conducted by the Irish Times is also available. The most notable work by Habermas is The Theory of Communicative Action published in German in 1981 and translated to English in 1984.  This publication is in two volumes: Volume 1: Reason and the Rationalization of Society and Volume 2: Lifeword and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason.  These works integrate and draw upon the Read More …