chapter
400 Pages

The A-Z Guide to Modern Social and Political Theorists

One of the most influential German thinkers of this century, Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was born into a wealthy German-J ewish family. He moved from Frankfurt to Vienna and Berlin before Nazism forced his exile, first to work in Oxford with Gilbert Ryle, then to New York and the Princeton Radio Research Programme, then finally to Los Angeles. He returned to Germany after the war and worked with Max Horkheimer at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research eventually becoming its director. His oeuvre is wide-ranging: including aesthetics, philosophy of music, music reviews, sociology and psychology. Thanks to this breadth, he has been accused of dabbling. But for all its scope, his vision and interdisciplinarity bring together different fields and create new venues for thinking. Hence, it can be argued that few thinkers had more influence on German post-war society than Adorno. With Horkheimer, Fromm and Habermas (one of his pupils), he was founder and propagator of a specific school of western Marxism, Kritische Theorie (Critical Theory), also known as 'the Frankfurt Schoo!'.