Adorno culture industry selected essays

Following Horkheimer 's taking up the directorship of the Institute, a new journal, Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung , was produced to publish the research of Institute members both before and after its relocation to the United States. Though Adorno was not himself an Institute member, the journal nevertheless published many of his essays, including "The Social Situation of Music" (1932), "On Jazz" (1936), "On the Fetish-Character in Music and the Regression of Listening" (1938) and "Fragments on Wagner" (1938). In his new role as social theorist, Adorno's philosophical analysis of cultural phenomena heavily relied on the language of historical materialism , as concepts like reification , false consciousness and ideology came to play an ever more prominent role in his work. At the same time, however, and owing to both the presence of another prominent sociologist at the Institute, Karl Mannheim , as well as the methodological problem posed by treating objects—like "musical material"—as ciphers of social contradictions, Adorno was compelled to abandon any notion of "value-free" sociology in favour of a form of ideology critique which held on to an idea of truth. Before his emigration in autumn 1934, Adorno began work on a Singspiel based on Mark Twain 's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer entitled The Treasure of Indian Joe , which he would, however, never complete; by the time he fled Hitler 's Germany Adorno had already written over a hundred opera or concert reviews and an additional fifty critiques of music composition.

Adorno shared Marx's view of capitalism as a fundamentally dehumanizing system. Adorno's commitment to Marxism caused him, for example, to retain a lifelong suspicion of those accounts of liberalism founded upon abstract notions of formal equality and the prioritization of economic and property rights. Adorno's account of domination was thus deeply indebted to Marx's account of domination. In addition, in numerous articles and larger works, Adorno was to lay great stress on Marx's specific understanding of capitalism and the predominance of exchange value as the key determinant of worth in capitalist societies. As will be shown later, the concept of exchange value was central to Adorno's analysis of culture and entertainment in capitalist societies. Marx's account of capitalism enabled critical theory and Adorno to go beyond a mere assertion of the social grounds of reality and the constitutive role of the subject in the production of that reality. Adorno was not simply arguing that all human phenomena were socially determined. Rather, he was arguing that an awareness of the extent of domination required both an appreciation of the social basis of human life coupled with the ability to qualitatively distinguish between various social formations in respect of the degree of human suffering prerequisite for their maintenance. To a significant degree, Marx's account of capitalism provided Adorno with the means for achieving this. However, as I argued above, Adorno shared the Frankfurt School's suspicions of the more economically determinist aspects of Marx's thought. Beyond even this, Adorno's account of reason and domination ultimately drew upon philosophical sources that were distinctly non-Marxian in character.

Adorno culture industry selected essays

adorno culture industry selected essays


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