Adorno and the Political
By Espen Hammer
Routledge – 2004 – 216 pages
Series: Thinking the Political
Interest in Theodor W. Adorno continues to grow in the English-speaking world as the significance of his contribution to philosophy, social and cultural theory, as well as aesthetics is increasingly recognized. Espen Hammer’s lucid book is the first to properly analyze the political implications of his work, paying careful attention to Adorno’s work on key thinkers such as Kant, Hegel and Benjamin.
Examining Adorno’s political experiences and assessing his engagement with Marxist as well as liberal theory, Hammer looks at the development of Adorno’s thought as he confronts Fascism and modern mass culture. He then analyzes the political dimension of his philosophical and aesthetic theorizing. By addressing Jürgen Habermas’s influential criticisms, he defends Adorno as a theorist of autonomy, responsibility and democratic plurality. He also discusses Adorno’s relevance to feminist and ecological thinking. As opposed to those who see Adorno as someone who relinquished the political, Hammer’s account shows his reflections to be, on the most fundamental level, politically motivated and deeply engaged.
This invigorating exploration of a major political thinker is a useful introduction to his thought as a whole, and will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of philosophy, sociology, politics and aesthetics.
Hammer's contribution should dispel any rumours that [Adorno's] work is simply apolitical.' - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal
'Hammer is to be congratulated for presenting a lucid and consistent case for the significance of Adorno's political thought, doing justice to its complexity while situating it within its specific historical context.' - Howard Caygill, University of London, UK
Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Permanent Exile: Adorno’s Political Experiences 2. Adorno’s Marxism 3. Approaches to Fascism 4. The Politics of Culture 5. The Persistence of Philosophy 6. The Politics of Aesthetic Negativity 7. The Transformation of Critical Theory 8. Adorno in Contemporary Political Theory Conclusion Sources