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The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought) Paperback – February 23, 1995

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Editorial Reviews


"Compulsory reading for anyone wanting to study or writeabout the Frankfurt School." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"Rolf Wiggershaus's monumental study of the Frankfurt Schoolprovides the best overall view of its entire trajectory....[The book] is an absolute must for anyone interested incontemporary social theory and politics." Douglas Kellner

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought
  • Paperback: 788 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 23, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262731134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262731133
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wiggershouse provides, with depth and precision, a chronological account of the history of the Institute of Social Research -"The Frankfurt School" - from its founding in 1924 to Adorno's death in 1969 (an Afterword briefly describes that happened to the critical theory school in Germany up to the mid 1980's). Appropriately, the book's emphasis is on the ideas of the Frankfurt School's theoreticians; the inclusion of factual episodes and brief biographies serve mainly to guide the reader through the convergences and divergences between the ideas moving around critical theory. Among the many virtues of the book, is the attention given to lesser known theoreticians associated with the Institute, such as Friedrich Pollock, Franz Neumann, and Otto Kirchheimer. Another virtue is that Wiggershouse does not attempt to elect "heroes" within this fascinating group of thinkers. Quite the contrary. Max Horkheimer, though depicted as a creative thinker, emerges from the book pages with a dubious character. Horkheimer's claims in favor of an interdisciplinary research program contrast with his attitudes as the Institute's director. The episode involving Habermas' exit from the Institute is exemplar of Horkheimer's rather intolerant personality. Theodor Adorno, described in all his intellectual brilliance, appears as the genius who voluntarily chose to stay under Horkheimer's shadow and who, at the heat of the student's movement in the late 60's in Germany, took an "ivory tower" type of attitude. The book has only one noticeable flaw (if one can regard it as such). Though the emphasis on the ideas is what makes the book extremely interesting, Wiggershaus is not always successful in clarifying them. For instance, for readers not familiar with Adorno's aesthetics theory, Wiggershaus' presentation is not very helpful. Nevertheless, all in all, Wiggershaus' book is definitely "the" reference book for students of critical theory.
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