Oxford's A Dictionary of Critical Theory by Ian Buchanan explains key theoretical terms in a concise yet informative manner. It also renders an intelligent contextual overview of influential figures that changed the course of history. The dictionary is accessible to a myriad range of non-specialized readers as well as versed academics. Its direct and unpretentious language offers lucid explanations without over-simplifying complex theoretical concepts. The accuracy of dates and information provided within its entries makes the dictionary a reliable source.
The comprehensiveness of the dictionary lies in its interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity. Its interdisciplinary aspect delineates theoretical terms that destabilize rigid lines between many academic disciplines such as literature, psychology, political science, economics, philosophy etc. It merges cross-cultural knowledge into a new comprehensible whole. The dictionary's multidisciplinary aspect draws from multiple disciplines (without blurring their boundaries) to redefine specific terms beyond normative thinking.
The dictionary engages non-specialized readers by highlighting terms that are directly relevant to their subjective daily experiences. The term "McDonaldization," for example, helps them view the fast-food chain from a different perspective. Viewing a mundane act, which is buying food from McDonald's, from a sociological standpoint attracts non-specialized readers.
The dictionary guides its readers to the original references that the terms are derived from. It also mentions coined terms in their source language next to the English- translated entries. Polylingual speakers will enjoy reading the original terms within parenthesis. The dictionary also provides a list of further readings after most entries. The fact that some of the further readings are web-linked magnifies the dictionary's appeal. The text is linked to the dictionary's webpage online to ease the process of finding relevant websites. Directions on how to use the websites through the main page are also provided.
The layout of the dictionary is one of its merits. Its font, categorization of terms, overleaves, lists of further readings and web links are elements that attract readers. The overleaf is designed to offer a break from regular entries. Therefore, the equilibrium between the dictionary's organized form and rich content is extremely appealing to those interested in critical theory. I highly recommend Oxford's A Dictionary of Critical Theory to students and academics, as well as non-specialized readers who would like to obtain a comprehensive view of the world.
- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press UK; 2 edition (18 January 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198794797
- ISBN-13: 978-0198794790
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.8 x 13 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 381 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)