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THEORIES OF LITERARY CRITICISM: SOCIAL (SOCIALOGICAL CRITICISM)

Jason anak Anon Muhammad Khalid B Ali Noor Amalina Bt Abd Latif Siti Nur Eaizaty Bt Baharudin

DEFINITION

Sociological Criticism - Literary criticism directed to understanding (or placing) literature in its larger social context. It codifies the literary strategies that are employed to represent social constructs through a sociological methodology.
This form of literary criticism was introduced by Kenneth Burke, a 20th century literary and critical theorist.

IN

OTHER WORDS

An approach to literature that examines social groups, relationships, and values as they are manifested in literature. Emphasize the nature and effect of the social forces that shape power relationships between groups or classes of people.

I MPORTANCE OF S OCIOLOGICAL C RITICISM

Austin Harrington outlines six ways in which art can be approached from a sociological standpoint (in his book Art and Social Theory ): 1) humanistic historic approach, 2) Marxist social theory, 3) cultural studies, 4) theory of art in analytical philosophy,

5) anthropological studies of art,


6) empirical studies of contemporary art institutions

According to Harrington, "sociological approaches generally possess a stronger sense of the material preconditions, historical flux and cultural diversity of discourse, practices and institutions of art," (Harrington, 31). Harrington argues that pieces of art can serve as "normative sources of social understanding in their own right," (Harrington, 207)

T YPES OF S OCIOLOGICAL C RITICISM

Sociological criticism is so broad that it can be subdivided into many branches. Dominant Theories

Marxist

Feminist

M ARXIST T HEORIES

Based on the social and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Their belief includes :

Value is based on labor.

The working class will eventually overthrow the capitalist middle class.
The middle class exploits the working class.

Most institutions- religious, legal, educational and governmental are corrupted by middleclass capitalists.

M ARXIST T HEORIES

Marxist critics apply these economic and social theories to literature by analyzing:

Ideologies that support the elite and place the working class at disadvantage Class conflict

F EMINIST

THEORIES

Grew out of the womens movement that followed the World War 2. Feminist critics analyze the role of gender in works of literature.

1.

2 purposes of feminist criticism:


Feminist critique: the analysis of works by male authors especially in depiction of womens writing. Gynocriticism: the study of womens writing.

2.

E XAMPLES OF S OCIAL C RITICISM IN L ITERATURE

Susan Caspell, the author of Triffles had draw attention to the ways in which patriarchal social structures have marginalized women.
Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

Critics about the economic in Depression Era, the segregation and discrimination towards races and gender, education system.

Amy Tan, Two Kinds : womens right

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