Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   



Frankfurt School

  A group of radical scholars associated with the Institute of Social Research founded in Frankfurt, Germany in 1923. Their writings established critical theory as a central moment in the wider currents of \'western Marxism\' as it emerged in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. The label is misleading, however, since the \'Frankfurt School\' was only referred to as such after the parent Institute had been closed by the Nazis in 1933 and its members forced to flee the country. Their exile lasted until 1950, but this was arguably the most intellectually productive period for the group as a whole. It was then that their critique of positivism was developed most forcefully and conjoined to a critique of domination which stressed the relations between theory and practice and between material and mental culture. Even then, however, the contributions of the most prominent members of the group — M. Horkheimer, T. Adorno, W. Benjamin, H. Marcuse, L. Lowenthal and F. Pollock — were sufficiently distinctive to require a carefully differentiated analysis rather than the casual attribution of a collective project.

Some critics have regarded their work as being preoccupied with abstract philosophy and aesthetic theory, to such a degree as to represent a radical departure from the concrete historical and economic emphases of orthodox Marxism: Connerton (1980) speaks of an \'enveloping orgy of abstractions\' and Bottomore (1984) of the \'extremely limited\' range of their interests. Others, by contrast, regard \'the way connections [were] established between apparently disparate fields of inquiry\' as one of the features confirming the Frankfurt School as a \'major source for contemporary social and political thought\' (Held, 1980). Certainly, its revivification and extension by Habermas, Offe and Schmidt in the 1960s and 1970s had a major impact on all the social sciences, and in geography informed both general discussions, e.g. the relevance of teaching and research, and specific analyses, e.g. of social movements and of the capitalist state. (DG)

References Bottomore, T. 1984: The Frankfurt School. London: Tavistock; Connerton, P. 1980: The tragedy of enlightenment: an essay of the Frankfurt School. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Held, D. 1980: Introduction to critical theory: Horkheimer to Habermas. London: Hutchinson.

Suggested Reading Jay, M. 1973: The dialectical imagination: a history of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research 1923-50. London: Heinemann. Wiggershaus, R. 1994: The Frankfurt School: its history, theories and political significance. Cambridge: Polity Press; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
free port


Other Terms : topology | aid | cohort
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us