Criticism is the construction of a judgement about the negative or positive qualities of someone or something. Criticism can range from impromptu comments to a written detailed response.[1] Criticism falls into several overlapping types including "theoretical, practical, impressionistic, affective, prescriptive, or descriptive".[2]

Criticism may also refer to an expression of disapproval of someone or something.[1] When criticism of this nature is constructive, it can make an individual aware of gaps in their understanding and it can provide distinct routes for improvement.[3][4][5] Research supports the notion that using feedback and constructive criticism in the learning process is very influential.[6][7][8]

Critique vs. criticism: In French, German, or Italian, no distinction is drawn between 'critique' and 'criticism'. The two words both translate as critique, Kritik, and critica, respectively.[9] In the English language, philosopher Gianni Vattimo suggests that criticism is used more frequently to denote literary criticism or art criticism while critique refers to more general and profound writing such as Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.[9] Another distinction that is sometimes made is that critique is never personalized nor ad hominem[9] and is presented in a way that encourages rebuttal or expansion of the ideas expressed. Nonetheless, the distinctions are subtle and ambiguous at best.[9]

The term "brickbat" is sometimes used to mean "an unfavourable criticism, unkind remark or sharp put-down". The term originated in the 17th century, derived from the practice of throwing bricks as projectiles at a person who was disapproved of.[10][11]

In some contexts, such as literary criticism and art criticism, the word criticism is used as a neutral word that is synonymous with evaluation. [12]

Critical theory and Postmodernism

Main articles: Critical theory and Postmodernism

Critical Theory and related Critical Studies criticize power structures.[13] Critical Studies include Critical legal studies,[14] Critical race theory, and Critical Pedagogy.[15] The critical legal studies include criticism of the distinction between political argument and legal argument (Everything is political),[16] rule of law and separation of powers.[17]

Critical theory is distinct but related to Postmodernism, which criticizes scientific rationalism and objective reality.[18]

Criticism of criticism

Journalist and writer H. L. Mencken argued that "criticism is little more than a branch of homiletics. They judge a work of art, not by its clarity and sincerity, not by the force and charm of its ideas, not by the technical virtuosity of the artist, not by his originality and artistic courage, but simply and solely by his orthodoxy."[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Criticism". Cambridge Dictionary. | the act of giving your opinion or judgment about the good or bad qualities of something or someone or the act of saying that something or someone is bad
  2. ^ "Criticism". Oxford Dictionary. | "The reasoned discussion of literary works, an activity which may include some or all of the following procedures, in varying proportions: the defence of literature against moralists and censors, classification of a work according to its genre, interpretation of its meaning, analysis of its structure and style, judgement of its worth by comparison with other works, estimation of its likely effect on readers, and the establishment of general principles by which literary works can be evaluated and understood."
  3. ^ Fong, Carlton J.; Warner, Jayce R.; Williams, Kyle M.; Schallert, Diane L.; Chen, Ling-Hui; Williamson, Zachary H.; Lin, Shengjie (July 2016). "Deconstructing constructive criticism: The nature of academic emotions associated with constructive, positive, and negative feedback". Learning and Individual Differences. 49: 393–399. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2016.05.019. ISSN 1041-6080.
  4. ^ Winstone, Naomi E.; Nash, Robert A.; Parker, Michael; Rowntree, James (2017-01-02). "Supporting Learners' Agentic Engagement With Feedback: A Systematic Review and a Taxonomy of Recipience Processes". Educational Psychologist. 52 (1): 17–37. doi:10.1080/00461520.2016.1207538. hdl:10536/DRO/DU:30171632. ISSN 0046-1520.
  5. ^ Shute, Valerie J. (2008-03-01). "Focus on Formative Feedback". Review of Educational Research. 78: 153–189. doi:10.3102/0034654307313795. hdl:20.500.12749/2996. S2CID 145188268.
  6. ^ Kluger, Avraham N.; DeNisi, Angelo (March 1996). "The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory". Psychological Bulletin. 119 (2): 254–284. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.119.2.254. ISSN 1939-1455.
  7. ^ The Power of Feedback. 2014-06-27. doi:10.4324/9781315813875. ISBN 9781315813875.
  8. ^ Brown, Gavin T.L.; Harris, Lois R.; Harnett, Jennifer (October 2012). "Teacher beliefs about feedback within an assessment for learning environment: Endorsement of improved learning over student well-being". Teaching and Teacher Education. 28 (7): 968–978. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2012.05.003. ISSN 0742-051X.
  9. ^ a b c d Gianni Vattimo Postmodern criticism: postmodern critique in David Wood (1990) Writing the future, pp. 57–58
  10. ^ Tharoor, Shashi (7 February 2020). "Shashi Tharoor's Word Of The Week: Brickbat". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  11. ^ "brickbat". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Common Errors in English Usage: criticism". May 31, 2016.
  13. ^ "Critical theory". Britannica. Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  14. ^ "Critical Legal Theory". Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  15. ^ "Critical Race Studies". UCLA Law. UCLA. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  16. ^ Price, David Andrew. "Taking rights cynically: a review of critical legal studies." The Cambridge Law Journal 48.2 (1989): 271-301.
  17. ^ Belliotti, Raymond A. "The rule of law and the critical legal studies movement." UW Ontario L. Rev. 24 (1986): 67.
  18. ^ Bryant, Ian; Johnston, Rennie; Usher, Robin (2004). Adult Education and the Postmodern Challenge: Learning Beyond the Limits. Routledge. p. 203.
  19. ^ "Criticism of Criticism of Criticism". Retrieved 2022-10-25.