About the ZkT

Zeitschrift für kritische Theorie (ZkT) /
Journal for Critical Theory

The ZkT was established in 1995. The journal provides a platform for the discussion and further development of critical theory and for its application to contemporary phenomena.

The German term “Kritische Theorie” carries several different connotations. In German, the term mainly invokes two different issues. Written with a capital “K,” it refers to the Frankfurt School, which emerged during the Weimar Republic around the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research (Frankfurter Institut für Sozialforschung) and the Studies in Philosophy and Social Sciences (Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, 1932-1941). Intellectuals of the first generation who contributed to the discussions in these institutions included, among others, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Leo Löwenthal, Herbert Marcuse, Franz Neumann, and Friedrich Pollock. The institute went into exile and continued with research projects at New York’s Columbia University and in California. After the reestablishment of the Institute of Social Research in the 1950s, members of the next generation of intellectuals left an important mark on Frankfurt critical theory, among them: Jürgen Habermas, Ludwig von Friedeburg, Karl Heinz Haag, Hermann Schweppenhäuser and Rolf Tiedemann. Having found many contributors around the world, and having taken on a number of different shapes, „Kritische Theorie“ emerged as a major force in analyzing, explaining and criticizing contemporary society and life.

Whereas the German word “Kritische Theorie,” written with a capital “K,” refers to the Frankfurt School, the same words written with a small “k” (kritische Theorie) means a particular type of theory whose tradition goes back further than the Frankfurt School. It encompasses the approaches of Immanuel Kant, Georg W. F. Hegel, Karl Marx and other classical philosophers and social theorists who explicitly embraced critical thought—albeit in very different ways. It also encompasses later critical thinkers who did not see themselves as part of Critical Theory in the narrower sense. The ZkT relates to both usages of the word “critical.” It seeks to further develop the legacy of the Frankfurt School and encourages the discussion both of contemporary phenomena and of the conceptual framework that “Kritische” and “kritische” theory have provided.

The ZkT invites scholars who see their work within this intellectual tradition to submit articles from their fields of research. Like the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung before, the ZkT cultivates an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from philosophical, economic, historical, aesthetic and sociological backgrounds.

The ZkT is a bilingual journal, publishing in German and English. We encourage submissions in English. Please mail or send them to:



Postal address:

Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Zeitschrift für kritische Theorie
z. Hd. Prof. Dr. Sven Kramer
Scharnhorststr. 1
D- 21335 Lüneburg

Submission date for every issue is January 15.

Current editors of the ZkT:

Sven Kramer
Gerhard Schweppenhäuser

Members of the editorial board:

Roger Behrens
Thomas Friedrich
Sven Kramer
Gerhard Schweppenhäuser
Dirk Stederoth

Corresponding associates:

Rodrigo Duarte (Belo Horizonte)
Jörg Gleiter (Berlin)
Christoph Görg (Leipzig)
Frank Hermenau (Kassel)
Fredric Jameson (Durham, NC)
Douglas Kellner (Los Angeles, CA)
Claudia Rademacher (Münster)
Gunzelin Schmid Noerr (Mönchengladbach)
Jeremy Shapiro (New York, NY)

For subscriptions to the Zeitschrift für kritische Theorie (ZkT), please contact the publishing house zu Klampen Verlag, Springe, Germany, at:


A list of back issues may be accessed here.