Adorno and the Political by Espen Hammer

By Espen Hammer

Curiosity in Theodor W. Adorno keeps 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 famous. Espen Hammer’s lucid ebook is the 1st to correctly research the political implications of his paintings, paying cautious cognizance to Adorno’s paintings on key thinkers similar 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. via 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 considering. in place of those that see Adorno as an individual who relinquished the political, Hammer’s account exhibits his reflections to be, at the such a lot primary point, politically inspired and deeply engaged.

This invigorating exploration of an immense political philosopher is an invaluable creation to his suggestion as a complete, and may be of curiosity to students and scholars within the fields of philosophy, sociology, politics and aesthetics.

“Hammer is to be congratulated for offering a lucid and constant case for the importance of Adorno’s political suggestion, doing justice to its complexity whereas situating it inside of its particular historic context.” —Howard Caygill, college of London

“Clearly written, well-structured ... it's a extraordinary 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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Marcuse’s meteoric rise to prominence in the late 1960s confirms this view insofar as his most cited work, One-dimensional Man, largely rehearses the Adornian critique of instrumental reason, albeit in a more popular form than in the Dialectic of Enlightenment. ) One occasion upon which the affinities between Adorno and the students came out in the open was the killing, by the police, of Benno Ohnesorg, a student of literature, in the summer of 1967. After a period of political unrest focusing on the lack of parliamentary control over the executive and the planned “Emergency laws” (Notstandsgesetze) that were seen to be weakening democracy, a demonstration against the visiting Shah of Iran ended with violent clashes with the police.

Reformulating Schiller’s distinction between naive and sentimental poetry within an essentially Hegelian framework, Lukács claimed more specifically that whereas the classical epics were concerned with the “transcendental home” of a world filled with gods and with purpose, the novel was concerned with the problematic culture of a world in which such sources of orientation no longer were available. According to Lukács, the loss of meaning is best described in terms of a claim about how time is experienced in these two forms of narrative.

Obviously this idiocy was calculated. 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.

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