Adorno, Theodor W.

(1903–1969)
   Adorno was a key figure in the influential Marxist Frankfurt School, and wrote extensively on a variety of subjects, including several works widely considered to be classics in their fields. Born in Germany, Adorno studied at the University of Frankfurt, developing an interest in philosophy, music and psychology. He taught philosophy at Frankfurt before leaving Germany when the Nazis came to power. After four years in England he moved to the United States where he joined the Institute for Social Research in New York in 1938. The Institute had had a previous incarnation in Frankfurt, Germany before relocating to the United States in response to the rise of the Nazis. After World War II Adorno along with the Institute returned to Frankfurt. Adorno became director of the Institute in 1959 and was a key contributor to the “critical theory” developed there.
   Adorno’s key publications include Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947 with Max Horkheimer), The Authoritarian Personality (1950), and Negative Dialectics (1966). In these and other works Adorno applied and developed Karl Marx’s ideas particularly relating to the dominance of commodity production in the contemporary world and its impact on culture. Adorno sought to highlight the destruction of personal freedom and the capacity for critical thinking in a world characterized by authoritarianism, bureaucracy, administration, technocracy and instrumental reason. In his work he aimed to help stimulate and cultivate independent critical thought and a desire for and belief in the possibility of radical change. For example, he described the creation of a “culture industry” based on the commodification of art and culture. The culture industry standardized culture, impeded the development of individual critical thinking, diverted and distracted people, and generally served the ends of the existing social order. For Adorno, the pervasiveness of political economy in all aspects of society meant that Marxism must focus not just on the economic base, but also on the superstructural elements of ideas and culture. In this and in his openness to non-Marxist theorists such as Sigmund Freud and Max Weber, Adorno departed from orthodox Marxism. Adorno, along with his Frankfurt School colleagues, was also prepared to criticize the authoritarian Marxism of Josef Stalin.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ADORNO, THEODOR W. — ADORNO, THEODOR W. (1903–1969), German philosopher, sociologist, composer. As a sociologist (in conjunction with max horkheimer et al.) he developed the Critical Theory of society (the so called Frankfurt School project) and published treatises… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Adorno, Theodor — (1903 1969)    social theorist and musicologist; a key associate of Frankfurt s Institut fur Sozialforschung. He was born in Frank furt, where his father was a Jewish wine merchant (born Wiesengrund, Theodor adopted his mother s maiden name,… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Adorno, Theodor W. — (1903–1969) German sociologist and political thinker. Adorno was a leading member of the Frankfurt school, whose general stance he shared. His work belonged mainly to sociology, and was especially concerned with the contradictions and distortions …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Adorno, Theodor — See Critical theory …   History of philosophy

  • Adorno, Theodor — ► (1903 69) Filósofo, sociólogo y musicógrafo alemán. Su pensamiento representa una fuerte crítica de la sociedad occidental y de la filosofía hegeliana. Entre sus obras destacan Dialéctica de la Ilustración (1947), La personalidad autoritaria… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — ▪ German philosopher and music critic born Sept. 11, 1903, Frankfurt am Main, Ger. died Aug. 6, 1969, Visp, Switz.       German philosopher who also wrote on sociology, psychology, and musicology.       Adorno obtained a degree in philosophy from …   Universalium

  • Adorno, Theodor (Wiesengrund) — (11 sep. 1903, Francfort del Meno, Alemania–6 ago. 1969, Visp, Suiza). Filósofo alemán. Adorno emigró a Inglaterra en 1934 para escapar del nazismo. Vivió diez años en EE.UU. (1938–48) antes de volver a Francfort, donde enseñó y encabezó el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — (1903–69)    German philosopher. Adorno was born in Frankfurt am Main. His father was a German Jew and his mother an Italian Catholic. He started his career teaching philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, but moved to England and subsequently …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Adorno, Theodor (Wiesengrund) — born Sept. 11, 1903, Frankfurt am Main, Ger. died Aug. 6, 1969, Visp, Switz. German philosopher. He immigrated to England in 1934 to escape Nazism. He lived for 10 years in the U.S. (1938–48) before returning to Frankfurt, where he taught and… …   Universalium

  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — (1903 69)    German philosopher and sociologist. He taught at the University of Frankfurt in 1931 and later lived in the US. In 1949 he returned to Germany, where he served as director of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.