Critical Theory

  • Thomas de Zengotita
Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)


Apparently—and in spite of manifold similarities in substance and purpose—the Frankfurt School had little direct influence on leading contributors to “La Pensée 68” in France. But, in the Anglophone context, the works of Adorno and Horkheimer, Marcuse and Fromm were stuffed into the backpacks of the young intellectuals who were shaping the political and counter-cultural movements of the 1960s. When the time came for them to embrace French theory and academic postmodernism more generally, they facilitated a merger that contributed to the disruption of established disciplines in the humanities across the board. This chapter focuses on the life and work of Theodor Adorno, but selectively; once again, the aim is to provide enough understanding of what “Critical Theory” originally was so that its eventual influence in the Anglophone context on, say, cultural studies can be justly assessed. This much is clear: of all the forms of “neo-Marxism” that survived the realization that the “superstructure” of culture had a historical efficacy of its own, critical theory as conceived by the Frankfurt School was the most influential and productive.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas de Zengotita
    • 1
  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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