This book offers a unique and timely reading of the early Frankfurt School in response to the recent 'affective turn' within the arts and humanities. It revisits some of the founding tenets of critical theory in the context of the establishment of the Institute for Social Research in the early twentieth century. The book focuses on the work of Walter Benjamin, whose varied engagements with the subject of melancholia prove to be far more mobile and complex than traditional accounts. It also looks at how an affective politics underpins critical theory's engagement with the world of objects, exploring the affective politics of hope. Situating the affective turn and the new materialisms within a wider context of the 'post-critical', it explains how critical theory, in its originary form, is primarily associated with the work of the Frankfurt School. The book presents an analysis of Theodor Adorno's form of social critique and 'conscious unhappiness', that is, a wilful rejection of any privatized or individualized notion of happiness in favour of a militant and political discontent. A note on the timely reconstruction of early critical theory's own engagements with the object world via aesthetics and mimesis follows. The post-Cold War triumphalism of many on the right, accompanied by claims of the 'end of history', created a sense of fearlessness, righteousness, and unfettered optimism. The book notes how political realism has become the dominant paradigm, banishing utopian impulses and diminishing political hopes to the most myopic of visions.
Mass and Propaganda. An Inquiry Into Fascist Propaganda (Siegfried Kracauer,
Written in French exile, the following text by Siegfried Kracauer from December 1936
outlines a research project that the German-Jewish intellectual undertook with
funding from the Institute for Social Research. The work outlined here would be a
study of totalitarian propaganda in Germany and Italy through sustained comparison
with communist and democratic countries, especially the Soviet Union and the United
States. Appearing in English translation for the first time, this document from
Kracauer‘s estate is crucial for a full understanding of his career as a sociologist,
cultural critic, film theorist and philosopher, demonstrating the global scope of his
engagement with cinema, mass culture and modernity.
chapters will selectively draw out and evaluate certain themes, concepts, and arguments from within the rich archive
of critical theory, particularly those of its so-called ‘first generation’, in order
to highlight the latter’s hitherto underappreciated concern with the affective,
emotional, and sensate aspects of experience.
Chapter 1 sets out the theoretical terrain on which the wider project is
based. I begin by revisiting some of the founding tenets of critical theory in
the context of the establishment of the InstituteforSocialResearch in the
Critical theory and demagogic populism provides a detailed analysis of the relevance of the Frankfurt School’s work to understanding contemporary populism. It draws on the research that the Institute for Social Research conducted concerning domestic demagogues during its period of ‘exile’ in the USA. The book argues that the figure of the demagogue has been neglected in both orthodox ‘populism studies’ and in existing critical approaches to populism such as that of Ernesto Laclau. Demagogic ‘capture’ of populist movements and their legacies is thus a contingent prospect for ‘left’ and ‘right’ populist movements. An account of ‘modern demagogy’ is thus detailed, from the Institute’s own dedicated demagogy studies through to their dialogue with Weber’s work on charismatic leadership, the US liberal critique of demagogy and Freud’s group psychology. The Institute’s linkage of ‘modern demagogy’ to the culture industry speaks to the underestimation in ‘populism studies’ of the significance of two other ‘modern phenomena. The first is ‘cultural populism’ – the appeal to a folkloric understanding of ‘the people’ and/or ‘their culture’. The second is the pivotal role of modern means of communication, not only in the recent prominence of social media but demagogic exploitation of all media since the rise of literacy and the widening of the suffrage in the nineteenth century. The dialectical dimensions of these processes are also highlighted in reconstructing the Institute’s work and in extending these analyses through to the present. The book so concludes by weighing up potential counter-demagogic forces within and beyond the culture industry.
Anthropology after Gluckman places the intimate circle around Max Gluckman, his Manchester School, in the vanguard of modern social anthropology. The book discloses the School’s intense, argument-rich collaborations, developing beyond an original focus in south and central Africa. Where outsiders have seen dominating leadership by Gluckman, a common stock of problems, and much about conflict, Richard Werbner highlights how insiders were drawn to explore many new frontiers in fieldwork and in-depth, reflexive ethnography, because they themselves, in class and gender, ethnicity and national origins, were remarkably inclusive. Characteristically different anthropologists, their careers met the challenges of being a public intellectual, an international celebrity, an institutional good citizen, a social and political activist, an advocate of legal justice. Their living legacies are shown, for the first time, through interlinked social biography and intellectual history to reach broadly across politics, law, ritual, semiotics, development studies, comparative urbanism, social network analysis and mathematical sociology. Innovation – in research methods and techniques, in documenting people’s changing praxis and social relations, in comparative analysis and a destabilizing strategy of re-analysis within ethnography – became the School’s hallmark. Much of this exploration confronted troubling times in Africa, colonial and postcolonial, which put the anthropologists and their anthropological knowledge at risk. The resurgence of debate about decolonization makes the accounts of fierce, End of Empire argument and recent postcolonial anthropology all the more topical. The lessons, even in activism, for social scientists, teachers as well as graduate and undergraduate students are compelling for our own troubled times.
interest in order to allow for
increased social ambitions in a shrinking economic space, to
straightforward discussions on cost-cutting and saving in order to shift
resources from the public sector to the export industry. When the
government created the InstituteforSocialResearch in 1972 under the
leadership of Sten Johansson, the same Sten Johansson who had developed
the living standard measure
with the InstituteforSocialResearch in Frankfurt to develop a critical theory of remembrance as a ‘positive,’ constructive resource for social and political transformation in the aftermath of broad historical ruptures. 10 In this sense, my work is part of a broader attempt to understand not only the problems and far-reaching consequences involved in historical injustice, but also the historical and contemporary responsibilities that it generates. 11 While collective memory can reduce the autonomy of both individuals and communities in the present, the writings
manager: to keep the father sweet and the financial support coming, he needed to disguise both his politics and his poetic leanings. Horkheimer was a right old geezer in the literal meaning of that word – someone who does not easily show his cards. 1 In Frankfurt he met Felix Weil (1898–1975), the son of a grain merchant who had been radicalized in the failed 1918 revolution and was to become, with Pollock, the key figure in the founding of the Frankfurt InstituteforSocialResearch in 1923 (using money given by Weil’s father). Horkheimer wrote his dissertation on
As one of the most influential strands of what Perry Anderson labeled
‘Western Marxism’, critical theory, in its originary form, is primarily associated with the work of the Frankfurt School. As an umbrella term, the
‘Frankfurt School’ only came about in retrospect to refer to the InstituteforSocialResearch [Institut für Sozialforschung] at Goethe University, Frankfurt.
Felix Weil had established the Institute in 1923. Its first director was Carl
Grünberg, a historian from the Austro-Marxist tradition, whose tenure followed a more orthodox form of Marxism. The
Identity is often regarded as something that is possessed by individuals, states, and other agents. In this edited collection, identity is explored across a range of approaches and under-explored case studies with a view to making visible its fractured, contingent, and dynamic features. The book brings together themes of belonging and exclusion, identity formation and fragmentation. It also examines how identity functions in discourse, and the effects it produces, both materially and in ideational terms. Taking in case studies from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, the various chapters interrogate identity through formal governing mechanisms, popular culture and place. These studies demonstrate the complex and fluid nature of identity and identity practices, as well as implications for theorising identity.