"The last few decades have seen an explosion in the production of critical theories, with deconstructionists, poststructuralists, postmodernists, second-wave feminists, new historicists, cultural materialists, postcolonialists, black critics and queer theorists, among a host of others, all vying for our attention." "The world around us can look very different depending on the critical theory applied to it. This vast range of interpretations can leave one feeling confused and frustrated. Introducing Critical Theory provides a route through the tangled jungle of competing theories. It provides a context for these recent developments by situating them within the longer-term tradition of critical analysis going back to the rise of Marxism. The essential methods and objectives of each theoretical school are presented in an incisive and accessible manner. Special attention is paid to recurrent themes and concerns that have preoccupied a century of critical theoretical activity."--Jacket.