By Espen Hammer
Curiosity in Theodor W. Adorno maintains to develop within the English-speaking global because the importance of his contribution to philosophy, social and cultural concept, in addition to aesthetics is more and more well-known. Espen Hammer’s lucid booklet is the 1st to correctly study the political implications of his paintings, paying cautious consciousness to Adorno’s paintings on key thinkers akin to Kant, Hegel and Benjamin.
Examining Adorno’s political studies and assessing his engagement with Marxist in addition to liberal conception, Hammer appears on the improvement of Adorno’s inspiration as he confronts Fascism and glossy mass tradition. He then analyzes the political measurement of his philosophical and aesthetic theorizing. by way of addressing Jürgen Habermas’s influential criticisms, he defends Adorno as a theorist of autonomy, accountability and democratic plurality. He additionally discusses Adorno’s relevance to feminist and ecological pondering. in preference to those that see Adorno as an individual who relinquished the political, Hammer’s account exhibits his reflections to be, at the such a lot basic point, politically stimulated and deeply engaged.
This invigorating exploration of an immense political philosopher is an invaluable advent to his idea as an entire, and may be of curiosity to students and scholars within the fields of philosophy, sociology, politics and aesthetics.
“Hammer is to be congratulated for featuring a lucid and constant case for the importance of Adorno’s political idea, doing justice to its complexity whereas situating it inside its particular ancient context.” —Howard Caygill, college of London
“Clearly written, well-structured ... it's a awesome success to have attained this point of readability a couple of subject that's this hard and obscure.” —Raymond Geuss, collage of Cambridge
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Additional info for Adorno and the Political
By refusing — perhaps out of a genuine fear of crowds and the horror felt at what he considered to be the possible resurgence of fascist authoritarianism on the left — to grant the action any real political relevance, Adorno’s judgment may seem a little too harsh. Although the “flower power” intervention in his lecture could easily be dismissed as both naive 24 PERMANENT EXILE and embarrassing, its misplaced attack on a left-wing professor a perfect testimony to the confusion and failures of the 1960s student movement, there is a danger that Adorno’s position could be employed to condemn all forms of expressive, non-discursive political action.
As this is the most immediate historical and theoretical subtext of Adorno’s thinking, it is necessary to take some steps toward mapping this disorganized landscape. Very roughly, Western Marxism, represented by figures such as Georg Lukács, Karl Korsch, Ernst Bloch, and Antonio Gramsci (and later by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Lucio Colletti and, arguably, Louis Althusser), arose as an attempt to reformulate Marx’s intellectual legacy in order to understand the social and political conditions in Central Europe during the 1920s.
Adorno’s difference from Lukács in these matters, and in particular his unwillingness to mobilize Marx’s distinction between abstract and concrete labor for the purpose of analyzing the extraction of surplus value, may seem to weaken Jameson’s claim for “the essential Marxism of this thinker” (1996: 230). Indeed, as Rose (1978) and others have argued, Adorno’s Marxism is at best highly selective, leaving much of the apparatus of Marx’s analysis of capitalism’s injustices in the background while emphasizing the more Weberian elements of Lukács’ account in which late capitalism represents the victory of the forces of rationalization with the effect of freezing social relations and ultimately replacing them with the subject-transcendent mechanisms of systemically enforced exchange (the bureaucracies, the market, and so on).
Adorno and the Political by Espen Hammer