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Frankfurt School and Critical Theory


                                                                                           Frankfurt School and Critical Theory

The " Frankfurt School " refers to a group of german-american theorists who developed powerful analyses of the changes in western capitalist societies that have occurred since the classical theory of Marx . Notably , the theorists loosely affiliated with the Frankfurt School shifted Marxism away from economic determinism towards a primary concern with the superstructure and with questions of culture and subjectivity . This radical shift in emphasis came about after failed revolutions in the early decades of the twentieth century, the subsequent disillusionment with classical Marxism , and the rise of advanced cultural institutions and media communications-all of which seemed to prevent mass movements from rebelling against capitalism .

          Working at the Institute fur Sozialforschung in Frankfurt , Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s , theorists such as Max Horkheimer( 1894- 1972) , T.W.Adorno(1903-1969) , Herbert Marcuse ( 1898-1979) , Leo Lowenthal ( 1900- 1993) , and Erich Fromm ( 1900- 1980) , produced some of the first accounts within critical social theory of the importance of mass culture and communication in social reproduction and domination . The Frankfurt School also generated one of the first models of a critical cultural studies that analyzes the processes of cultural production and political economy , the politics of cultural texts , and audience reception and use of cultural artifacts . Moving from Nazi Germany to the United States , the Frankfurt School experienced at first hand the rise of a media culture involving film , popular music , radio , television , and other forms of mass culture . In the United States ,  where they found themselves in exile , media production was by and large a form of commercial entertainment  controlled by big corporations . Two of the Frankfurt School’s key theorists Max Horkheimer and T.W.Adorno ,  developed an account of the ‘ culture industry ‘ to call attention to the industrialization and commercialization of culture under capitalist relations of production .As we shall see their critical cultural studies model drew on Max Weber’s theory of rationalization , Marxist categories such as alienation and ideology , and finally Freudian notions of repression , projection , and displacement .

          At the end of this short article I want to refer to one of the most important realities in the 20th century which occurred during the 1930s , the Frankfurt School at that time developed a critical and transdisciplinary approch to cultural and communications studies ,  combining  political economy ( one of the important Marx’s heritages ) , textual analysis ,  and analysis of social and ideological effects of socio-cultural  institutions and forms .

          About Frankfurt School and its achievments on different subjects ,  specially Critical Theory which was their great and most important contribution to theoretical activities in 20th century , there were a great library : written, authored, translated … from the monographs for example Theodor W. Adorno : His Life and Thoughts ,  or about Max Horkheimer , Herbert Marcuse , Erich Fromm , their writings , books , in Farsi there is no books on Adorno , no translations from his books ,no writting about his life , But many years ago  one the books of H.Marcuse was translated : one dimentional man ; in general in Farsi we have no any important or referential books , but for the sake of my later articles or even blogs inevitably I write some introductory  short articles on Critical Theory.

Randjbar

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