Patricia McManus
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Solidarity as an absence
The productive limits of Adorno’s thought
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‘Solidarity as an absence’ traces the blindspots in Theodor Adorno’s understanding of the valences of solidarity as a sickened value of modernity. It makes the case for the political potency of Adorno’s treatment of solidarity as that which enables a breach in the logic of self-preservation. Historicising Adorno’s understanding of his own refusal to practice solidarity in the tumult of the 1960s, the chapter suggests Adorno’s thought was both powered and hobbled by his theoretical understanding of a modernity which, being without its colonies, was without the contradictions they held. The chapter suggests some of the political charge of Adorno’s understanding of solidarity is embedded in his model of autonomous art, of what art has to do and to be to secure autonomy. Any materialist understanding of the work of culture in articulating solidarity will benefit from the challenge and the limits Adorno’s thought poses.

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