Ideology and Experience: The Legacy of Critical Theory

  • Espen Hammer


This chapter discusses the contributions of key members and affiliates of the Frankfurt School of Critical Social Theory to the theory of film. Central to all of these contributions, which tend to be based on some account of Marxism, is that they socially and historically locate film production within capitalism and the various ideological constraints of modernity and late modernity. Being highly skeptical of the so-called culture industry, which is said to produce ideology, the school debated avant-garde film practices, including montage. Walter Benjamin’s positive view regarding the key political role of film was subjected to criticism by Theodor W. Adorno yet influenced the artistic movement referred to as New German Cinema. The legacy of the Frankfurt School’s interest in analyzing ideology and the conditions of non-reified experience remains important to contemporary trends in advanced filmmaking.


Experience Ideology Montage Critical theory Capitalism New German Cinema 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Espen Hammer
    • 1
  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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