Revisiting the Frankfurt School: Essays on Culture, Media and Theory.

David Berry

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

This book was developed because of the misleading representation of what is often referred to as the ‘Frankfurt School’ and therefore is a direct response to suspect research conducted mainly in British Media and Cultural Studies. Its rationale was to reassess the work of the ‘Frankfurt School’ who have been reduced to a small number of thinkers and provides a broader understanding of the works of writers who were closely aligned, loosely associated or on the margins of the institution known as the Frankfurt School to gain a more detailed understanding of their collective work. So for instance I’ve introduced Siegfried Kracauer, Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal and Hans Magnus Enzensberger along with Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas; further to this Dallas Smythe is introduced by way of comparison to the works of Adorno.

My chapter titled ‘Max Horkheimer: Issues concerning Liberalism and Culture’ attempts to show Max Horkheimer in a new light by discussing his insights on cultural development and social justice in relation to liberalism (and neo-liberalism) and culture. Overall Horkheimer wrote less than his colleagues and was side-lined to a large extent on discussions concerning culture and society with others in the field more prominent. However, this chapter attempts to correct that deficit because Horkheimer produced some interesting intellectual insights into the meaning of culture, and I provide documents to show this, not least from the much neglected Eclipse of Reason. The chapter shows how Horkheimer blended ‘pessimism’ and ‘suffering’ from Schopenheaur and ‘materialism’ from Marx to offer his unique form of cultural analysis, set against liberalism and authoritarianism and explains that like Marcuse, critical opposition to capitalism wasn’t completely negated under an oppressive form of domination that attempts to reduce the meaning of ‘individualism’ to matters of consumption rather than critique.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
ISBN (Print)9781409411802
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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