Frankfurt School of Sociology - History of Sociology

Frankfurt School of Sociology

Frankfurt School of Sociology, headed by Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, who combined Marxism with psychoanalysis, had a tremendous impact on the minds of contemporaries. It is also called the critical theory of society and the neo-Marxist paradigm.

An influential current in neo-Marxism was organizationally shaped in the 1930s. on the basis of the Institute of Social Research headed by Horkheimer (since 1931) in Frankfurt am Main and the "Journal of Social Research" directed by him (since 1932). In the years 1934-1939. The institutional center of the school was located in Geneva, later - in Paris (at the Higher Normal School), since 1939 - in the USA (at Columbia University), since 1944 - in Frankfurt am Main (FRG). The main theorists are Horkheimer, Adorno, Fromm, Marcuse, Habermas. Prominent representatives of the Frankfurt school are also L. Levental and F. Pollock - the first generation, L. Schmidt, A. Welmer - the second generation of this school. The theoretical origins of the school include Marxism and left-wing Freudianism, which took the form of Freud Marxism in Germany, and surrealism in France (A. Breton). The ideas of Hegel, Marx, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, early Lukacs, Korsch, Bloch, later the hermeneutics of Gadamer, connected with Husserl and Heidegger, as well as psychoanalysis and reformed Freudianism, had a decisive influence on the views of the representatives of this school. The deepening of the contradictions within the Frankfurt school led to its disintegration in the early 1970s.

M. Drilling. Frankfurt School . The most influential branch of Western Marxism was the Frankfurt School. This German school by origin did not so much construct a scientific picture of society, but condemned capitalism for widening the gap between reality and opportunity. Instead of the liberation of mankind, science and technology subordinated people to nature and to each other. Representatives of this school drew ideas from the pessimistic sociology of M. Weber and psychoanalysis of Freud. In the work "Dialectics of Enlightenment" Adorno and Horkheimer sought to discover what rational impulses of enlightenment transformed into a nightmare of irrationality. Their work reflected the experience of German fascism and Soviet communism.

T. Marcuse extended this analysis to modern American society, arguing that this is also a form of totalitarianism, denying people the opportunity to be free and rational. As one of the last representatives of the Frankfurt School, Marcuse became a cult figure among the generation of students of the 1960s. Together with the social movements of that time, he glorified the resistance of marginalized groups in society, especially racial minorities and students, and saw in them a potential "revolutionary class". In all his works there is a strong utopian theme, which clearly resonated with the optimism of the 1960s. The book "One-Dimensional Man" symbolized the aspirations of the student movement both in Europe and in America.

In one of the most famous works, "Dialectic of Enlightenment" (1947) T. Adorno and M. Horkheimer gave a programmatic account of the social philosophy of neo-Marxism and its peculiar philosophy of history, in the light of which the evolution of mankind appears as the history of a failed civilization, exacerbating alienation caused by bourgeois reason opposed to nature. Adorno interprets the history of the West as a pathological process of aggravating insanity and the loss of individual freedom. In capitalism, the Frankfurt people did not like everything, literally everything: social institutions, legal norms, the dominance of technicalism, the state of culture and art, and, most importantly, the position of man, the suppression of the personal principle in it in a highly organized society. In their view, culture in bourgeois society serves as an ideology and means of maintaining domination, so the destruction or radical change in the foundations of this society will lead to the restoration of the humanistic image of culture. The ideology of the cultural industry is defined as the deliberate integration of its consumers from above, contributing to the degradation of people's consciousness.

In the 1930's and 1940's. representatives of the Frankfurt School actively opposed the fascism, participated in the discussion of the young Marxist humanist, wrote angry essays against the dehumanization of culture. Marcuse spoke out against attempts by the Nazis to use Hegel's philosophy in defense of their anti-human ideology. Great public response was the protection of the classical cultural heritage of mankind.

In the 1960s. Fromm, Marcuse, Adorno, Habermas criticized a highly developed industrial society, deeply and comprehensively analyzing the many forms of social pathology, the irrational manifestations of the socially organized (in the terminology of Marcuse - one-dimensional) society, which are disastrous for man, his truly human needs. Scientific and technological progress was assessed by the Frankfurt people as an institution of repressive suppression of culture. Culture and art in the sphere of the domination of technocratic thinking lose their essence - the sphere of technology suppresses the spiritual sphere.

They explored the social roots and nature of authoritarianism (Horkheimer, Adorno, Fromm), the psychology of Nazism. Based on psychoanalysis, Fromm explained the historical types of social nature and the causes of self-alienation, as well as the transformation of human needs and behavioral patterns, leading to escape from freedom. Ascending to M. Weber, the concept of rationalization is transformed into one of the central concepts

The philosophy of culture: an analysis of the internal contradictions of enlightenment, identified with the rational mastery of nature in general, becomes the key to understanding the culture and society of modern times, in particular mass culture and mass society (Dialectics of Enlightenment). Both of the latter concepts, introduced into scientific circulation by the representatives of the Frankfurt School, have become the world heritage of sociology. No less meritorious was the development of the category "alienation", first put forward by Marx, but received a detailed application to modern society from Marcuse and Fromm. The ideas of the Frankfurt school played a big role in the formation of the ideology of the "new left" (in 1968 they put forward the famous slogan "Mao-Marx-Marcuse"), although the philosophers themselves rejected violent actions and extremism.

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How do you think, how relevant are today, when protests are held in developed industrial countries, the views of representatives of the Frankfurt School?

It turns out that the famous Soviet intelligence officer Richard Sorge was closely associated with the Frankfurt School. In 1918 he became a student of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Kiel, where he studied philosophy and economics. Unfortunately, the Second World War did not give Sorge the opportunity to finish university education. He began his acquaintance with Marxism from an independent study of the works of K. Marx and F. Engels. Sorge learned about Lenin's works later - after moving to the Soviet Union. In addition to the classics of Marxism, Sorge was interested in the philosophy of Hegel and the works of the German Social Democrats. Since the spring of 1918, Sorge began to engage in active party work, becoming a functionary of the Independent Social Democratic Party (NSDP). In October 1919, he moved from the PSDP to the newly created Communist Party of Germany. In the universities where he studied Sorge, he created from the revolutionary students of the group on the study of Marxism. Since 1922, having moved to Frankfurt am Main, he took part in the creation of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and began to work there. Financial support for this undertaking was provided by entrepreneur-philanthropist Weil. The staff of this institute, conceived as a center for the study of Marxism, and subsequently formed the famous Frankfurt School in sociology.

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