critical theory

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critical theory

n.
1. The field of study concerned with formulating and evaluating intellectual approaches to the analysis or interpretation of works of art, texts, and other cultural artifacts. Critical theory encompasses such theories as New Criticism, Marxism, structuralism, deconstruction, and postcolonial theory.
2. A collection of theories used to describe and analyze society and social norms, especially with the goal of enhancing the freedom of the individual while preserving social justice.
3. Any of these theories.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.