The Frankfurt School: Critical Theory

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  • 1. The Frankfurt School Critical Theory
  • 2. Objectives
    Critical Theorists
    Major Concepts
    Criticisms
  • 3. Critical Theorists
    Max Horkheimer
    Theodor Adorno
    Herbert Marcuse
  • 4. FS Concerns
    1) “Dark Side” of Modernity
    2) Social Pathologies: Fascism and Advanced Capitalism
  • 5. “Instead of entering into a truly human condition, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism”
    - Horkheimer & Adorno, 1972, p. xi
  • 6. FS Goals
    1) Explain Why Marx was Wrong
    2) Understand Advanced Industrial Capitalism’s Impact on Individuals
  • 7. How did the Frankfurt School differ from orthodox Marxism?
  • 8. What is the Frankfurt School’s view on Marxist revolution?
  • 9. Major Concepts
    Dialectic of Enlightenment
  • 10. Major Concepts
    Mass Society
  • 11. Major Concepts
    Totally Administered Society
  • 12. “There is no reason to insist of self-determination if the administered life is the comfortable and even the ‘good life’”
    - Marcuse, 1964, p. 49
  • 13. Major Concepts
    One-Dimensional Thought
  • 14. One-Dimensional Language
    Orwell’s 1984
    Others?
  • 15. One-Dimensional Language
    “friendly fire”
    “peacekeepers”
    “freedom fighters”
    “clean bomb”
    “defense budget”
  • 16. What serves as the ideological apparatus of advanced capitalism?
  • 17. Major Concepts
    The Culture Industry
  • 18. “Advertising, public relations, indoctrination, planned obsolescence… are elements of basic production costs”
    - Marcuse, 1964, p. 49
  • 19. What is the Frankfurt School’s view on the culture industry?
  • 20. “The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood”
    - Marcuse, 1964, p. 12
  • 21. Tools of the Culture Industry
    Mass Persuasion
    Manipulation
    Consumerism
    Controlled Gratification
    Culture
  • 22. False Needs?
  • 23. Is there more to life than buying shit?
  • 24. What did Marcuse mean by “repressive tolerance”?
  • 25. Repressive Tolerance
  • 26. What did Marcuse mean by “repressive desublimation”?
  • 27. Let’s Party!
    Repressive Desublimation
  • 28. Criticisms
    Advanced Capitalism = Fascism?
    FS “Bourgeois Idealism”
  • 29. Credits and Further Reading
    Horkheimer & Adorno (1972)
    Dialectic of Enlightenment
    Marcuse (1964)
    One Dimensional Man
    Kellner (1984)
    Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism
  • 30. Thank you!
    Danielle Dirks, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Sociology
    Occidental College
    dirks@oxy.edu
    danielledirks.com
    @danielledirks