The Culture Industry by Theodor W. AdornoThe creation of the Frankfurt School of critical theory in the 1920s saw the birth of some of the most exciting and challenging writings of the twentieth century. It is out of this background that the great critic Theodor Adorno emerged. His finest essays are collected here, offering the reader unparalleled insights into Adornos thoughts on culture. He argued that the culture industry commodified and standardized all art. In turn this suffocated individuality and destroyed critical thinking. At the time, Adorno was accused of everything from overreaction to deranged hysteria by his many detractors. In todays world, where even the least cynical of consumers is aware of the influence of the media, Adornos work takes on a more immediate significance. The Culture Industry is an unrivalled indictment of the banality of mass culture.
Felix Weil began the Institute of Social Research in These theorists were all associated with the Institute in the s, except for Marcuse, who began working with the Institute in The Institute for Social Research continues to operate at the University of Frankfurt, but what is known as the Frankfurt School did not extend beyond the theorists associated with it. The interests of the Frankfurt School theorists in the s and s lay predominantly in a Marxist analysis of social and economic processes, and the role of the individual and the group in relation to these processes. Their particular relevance to communication theory lies primarily in Adorno's idea of the culture industry, and Marcuse's concept of the "one dimensional" man.
Aeon for Friends
The Frankfurt School, known more appropriately as Critical Theory, is a philosophical and sociological movement spread across many universities around the world. The Institute was founded in thanks to a donation by Felix Weil with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The academic influence of the critical method is far reaching. Some of the key issues and philosophical preoccupations of the School involve the critique of modernity and capitalist society, the definition of social emancipation, as well as the detection of the pathologies of society. Critical Theory provides a specific interpretation of Marxist philosophy with regards to some of its central economic and political notions like commodification, reification, fetishization and critique of mass culture. With Habermas, the Frankfurt School turned global, influencing methodological approaches in other European academic contexts and disciplines.