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The Frankfurt School in Exile

The Frankfurt School in Exile

Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 440
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  • Book Info
    The Frankfurt School in Exile
    Book Description:

    Although much has been written about the Frankfurt School, this is the first book to closely examine the relationship between its members and their American contemporaries. The Frankfurt School in Exile uncovers an important but neglected dimension of the history of the Frankfurt School and adds immeasurably to our understanding of the contributions made by its émigré intellectuals to postwar intellectual life.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6808-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. PREFACE: Critical Theory and the United States
    (pp. xv-xxii)
  5. INTRODUCTION: A Brief History of the Frankfurt School before Its Arrival in the United States
    (pp. 1-32)

    The Frankfurt School in Exilepresents an analysis of Critical Theory in the United States as a social history of ideas. It proposes that ideas cannot be evaluated in isolation from the material or sociopolitical conditions that shape the lifeworlds of the people generating them. The book, consequently, offers a new vantage point on the critical theorists and their ideas by focusing on the institutions in which they worked. Although the study of institutions can conjure images of the cold world of bureaucracies, the manuscript approaches institutions as living social networks. The Frankfurt School simultaneously represents two such networks. On...

  6. Part I. Critical Theory on Morningside Heights

    • chapter 1 NEW YORK TRANSIT: An Invitation to Columbia University
      (pp. 35-60)

      It is puzzling that the Frankfurt School’s relationship to Columbia University has been somewhat neglected by its many historians. It is not hard to understand why the Horkheimer Circle would have desired to settle at Columbia, but it is peculiar that the Frankfurt School would have received an invitation from Columbia. After all, why would Columbia University’s conservative president, Nicholas Murray Butler, and its sociology department extend an invitation to a group of predominantly German-speaking social theorists with strong links to the Marxian left?

      Regrettably, the one time that questions were raised about the Horkheimer Circle’s connection with Columbia University,...

    • chapter 2 FAILURE AND THE MYTHOLOGIES OF EXILE: The Frankfurt School’s Years at Columbia University
      (pp. 61-94)

      The Frankfurt School’s first years on Morningside Heights progressed smoothly. In addition to achieving an almost uninterrupted continuation of the Institute’s past activities—such as the publication of theZeitschrift für Sozialforschungand the data gathering and analysis for the research begun in Europe—the circle of researchers surrounding Max Horkheimer expanded during the first years in exile. The most notable additions to the Institute’s core were Theodor W. Adorno, Otto Kirchheimer, Franz Neumann, and Walter Benjamin. The latter thinkers contributed to the evolution of Critical Theory that took place during the Frankfurt School’s U.S. sojourn, and also assisted Horkheimer...

  7. Part II. The Owl of Minerva Comes to New York

    • chapter 3 JOHN DEWEY’S PIT BULL: Sidney Hook and the Confrontation between Pragmatism and Critical Theory
      (pp. 97-139)

      Max Horkheimer knew relatively little about New York City at the time that it was selected to be the new base of operations for the diasporic existence of the Frankfurt School. The members of the Institut für Sozialforschung wanted to leave Europe and get as far away from the Nazis as possible, and a wide array of North American cities had been considered. Particularly because of its proximity to Europe, Manhattan was deemed a desirable new home for the group. Horkheimer failed to note, however, what an ideal location he had selected for the group’s new headquarters. Although Horkheimer recognized...

    • chapter 4 CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC: The New York Intellectuals Encounter Critical Theory
      (pp. 140-188)

      There are few questions about Sidney Hook’s early and sustained contacts with the Frankfurt School. Hook was one of the first public intellectuals in New York to approach the Institute for Social Research, and the differences of opinion that he discovered between himself and the recent émigrés probably in fluenced the reputation of the Institute among New York’s anti-Stalinist radical community. But what of the other New York Intellectuals? Were there other substantive contacts between these two intellectual networks?

      Determining when and how the New York Intellectuals first came into contact with the Horkheimer Circle is a more complex question...

  8. Part III. Critical Theory and the Rise of Postwar Sociology

    • chapter 5 THE ATLANTIC DIVIDE: Building Bridges between Anglo-American Empiricism and Continental Social Theory
      (pp. 191-226)

      The Institute for Social Research, as part of the larger “intellectual migration,” participated in a crucial moment in the history of transatlantic ideas. Prior to 1933 , sociology was divided by the Atlantic Ocean into Continental and Anglo-American traditions. Although both heritages shared common origins in the social-scientific ideas of the Enlightenment, they grew apart during the nineteenth century and remained largely autonomous until the Second World War.¹ Continental sociology remained focused on the speculative issues that marked the discipline’s birth, while the Anglo-American variant developed an early confidence in evolutionary models of social development and sought to model itself...

    • chapter 6 ASSIMILATION AND ACCEPTANCE: Studies in Prejudice
      (pp. 227-264)

      The first proposal for an anti-Semitism project was published by the Horkheimer Circle in 1941. The piece appeared in the newly transformed version of the group’s periodical, which had begun to be published in English asStudies in Philosophy and Social Science.¹ In part, the article represented a final effort to publicize the institute’s work on this front. American Jewish philanthropies had not yet embraced the project, even though it had been in circulation among potential donors since 1939 . In the meantime, the group had tried to anticipate U.S. scholarly interests by shifting away from anti-Semitism and by formulating...

  9. Part IV. Message in a Bottle

    • chapter 7 SPECTERS OF MARX: The Frankfurt School in the Era of the New Left
      (pp. 267-295)

      By turning to the topic of the relationship between the Frankfurt School and the New Left, our analysis takes us in a surprising and new direction. Where previous sections of this book have explored cases in which the Frankfurt School had more substantial encounters with the United States and its various networks of public and academic intellectuals than has traditionally been assumed, these final two chapters represent the opposite phenomenon. The era of the 1960s has typically been presented as the moment during which theFlaschenposte(messages in bottles) finally found a sizable audience—the New Left of the 1960s....

    • chapter 8 MARCUSE’S MENTORS: The American Counterculture and the Guru of the New Left
      (pp. 296-334)

      By now, all of us probably share a fairly common view of Herbert Marcuse when it comes to the 1960s. His name and image are linked to the emergence of the New Left in countless history and philosophy textbooks. We’ve seen the photographs of the solemn, old philosopher surrounded by hundreds and sometimes thousands of earnest young faces. We’ve heard the tales of the wall posters that appeared at the height of the student unrest in Paris’s Latin Quarter and in Rome linking Marcuse to a revolutionary pantheon including the likes of Marx and Mao. Some may even be aware...

    (pp. 335-348)

    The fate of Marcuse’s work and reputation discussed at the conclusion of the last chapter is an important consideration when grappling with the reception of the entire Horkheimer Circle during the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. Although an older generation of American social scientists and intellectuals had been acquainted with the Institute for Social Research since the war, a new generation felt that it had discovered the Institute’s work and recognized its significance. Marcuse’s co-option by the American mass media of the 1960s made him a celebrity and simultaneously marginalized his message by depicting him in the guise...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 349-404)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 405-416)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 417-417)