Download Adorno, Habermas and the Search for a Rational Society by Deborah Cook PDF

By Deborah Cook

Theodor W. Adorno and Jnrgen Habermas either champion the target of a rational society. even if, they vary considerably approximately what this society should still appear like and the way top to accomplish it. Exploring the premises shared via either serious theorists, besides their profound disagreements approximately social stipulations this day, this publication defends Adorno opposed to Habermas' influential criticisms of his account of Western society and customers for reaching moderate stipulations of human existence. The ebook starts off with an outline of those severe theories of Western society. either Adorno and Habermas persist with Georg Lukacs once they argue that domination is composed within the reifying extension of a calculating, rationalizing kind of inspiration to all parts of human existence. Their perspectives approximately reification are mentioned within the moment bankruptcy. In bankruptcy 3 the writer explores their conflicting money owed of the old emergence and improvement of the kind of rationality now familiar within the West. on the grounds that Adorno and Habermas declare to have a serious buy on reified social existence, the severe leverage in their theories is classified in bankruptcy 4. the ultimate bankruptcy offers with their opposing perspectives approximately what a rational society might seem like, in addition to their claims in regards to the clients for setting up the sort of society. Adorno, Habermas and the hunt for a Rational Society may be crucial studying for college students and researchers of severe concept, political conception and the paintings of Adorno and Habermas.

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Additional info for Adorno, Habermas and the Search for a Rational Society (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought)

Sample text

For his part, Adorno would clearly reject Habermas’ definition of Western society as the “systemically stabilized complexes of action of socially integrated groups” (TCA II, 152). For this first generation critical theorist, Habermas’ distinction between the economic and political subsystems and the lifeworld would at best represent an ideological gloss on late capitalist societies whose truth content might consist in foreshadowing the conditions under which individuals and the economic system may one day conceivably be reconciled.

In the words of Jeffrey Alexander, who argues against the distinction between system and lifeworld in terms that Habermas himself sometimes seems to accept: “political and economic life are never simply instrumental. 66 In the lifeworld we cohabit, mate, and physically reproduce ourselves. Childrearing is carried out, not only symbolically, but also in such activities as cradling, nursing, health care, and other activities involving material and physical support. The lifeworld is where we conserve food, prepare, and eat it, where we take physical care of ourselves and others (bathing, grooming, clothing, exercising), where we clean and repair our dwellings, and so on.

Maintaining that the economy continues to predominate over political forces, Adorno portrays political domination as a permutation of late capitalism’s reifying tendencies. However, cautious inferences may be made from his discussion of Nazi Germany about other features of political domination. First, a state capitalist society not only controls the economy, which it presses into service for its own ends; it also commandeers the media, using them for propagandistic purposes. Adorno distinguished the state-controlled media under Hitler’s regime from media in other Western countries where the culture industry had become an industrial sector in its own right.

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