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Frankfurt school

MICHAEL PAYNE


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


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What is now known as the Frankfurt school of C ritical theory began in 1930 with Max H orkheimer's directorship of the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research, to which he gave a new and specific direction. In is inaugural address (Horkheimer, 1968) he announced the importance of launching a systematic, interdisciplinary program in critical theory that would combine methods of scientific research with a Marxist theory of society. As this program developed during the next decade with Hork-heimer's collaboration with Herbert M arcuse , Theodor W. A dorno , and Erich Fromm, two important revisions of M arx resulted. First, critical theory reached out to embrace new developments in P sychoanalysis , as Marcuse and Fromm especially labored to produce a synthesis of Marx and F reud . Second, Horkheimer and Marcuse became convinced that the proletariat had become so much a part of the capitalist system that it had lost its potential for revolutionary social change. By the end of the decade, however, with the rise of fascism and Stalinism, their confidence that intellectual reflection could become an effective, progressive substitute for proletarian revolution began to wane and to be replaced by N egative dialectics , which questioned the E nlightenment ideal of political change brought about by rational processes. Horkheimer and Adorno's The Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), a complex ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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