Social critical theory was developed by philosophers of the Frankfurt School in Germany in the twentieth century. Having been derived from the Marxist tradition, critical theory concerns criticizing society, its structures, and systems of power aiming to urge social changes. One of the major Frankfurt School philosophers, Max Horkheimer was convinced that social critical theory shall analyze society within its historical development and involve various social sciences to provide the holistic critique. The theory shall not only adequately explain problems within society but also give practical solutions on how to change established social norms. According to the philosophers who followed critical approach, ideology was the main hurdle between individuals and their liberty.
Critical theory differed from the traditional approach to sociology with its aim to change the course of social events but not only to explain them. Involvement of the related social sciences such as economics, history, and politics was also crucial for giving a reasonable critique. Critical theory of the twentieth century put prior attention to the forms of authority which came along with the evolution of capitalism. In a while, this theory turned to placing social phenomena in historical and cultural context to properly collect and analyze data. Postmodern critical approach to sociology preserved in feminist theories as well as in studies on race, culture, gender, and media.