By Espen Hammer
Publish 12 months note: First released in 2005
Interest in Theodor W. Adorno maintains to develop within the English-speaking international because the value of his contribution to philosophy, social and cultural idea, in addition to aesthetics is more and more well-known. Espen Hammer’s lucid publication is the 1st to correctly study the political implications of his paintings, paying cautious cognizance to Adorno’s paintings on key thinkers resembling Kant, Hegel and Benjamin.
Examining Adorno’s political studies and assessing his engagement with Marxist in addition to liberal conception, Hammer seems to be on the improvement of Adorno’s inspiration as he confronts Fascism and sleek mass tradition. He then analyzes the political measurement of his philosophical and aesthetic theorizing. by way of addressing Jürgen Habermas’s influential criticisms, he defends Adorno as a theorist of autonomy, accountability and democratic plurality. He additionally discusses Adorno’s relevance to feminist and ecological pondering. rather than those that see Adorno as anyone who relinquished the political, Hammer’s account exhibits his reflections to be, at the so much primary point, politically influenced and deeply engaged.
This invigorating exploration of a big political philosopher is an invaluable creation to his proposal as a complete, and should be of curiosity to students and scholars within the fields of philosophy, sociology, politics and aesthetics.
“Hammer is to be congratulated for proposing a lucid and constant case for the importance of Adorno’s political inspiration, doing justice to its complexity whereas situating it inside of its particular historic context.” —Howard Caygill, collage of London
“Clearly written, well-structured ... it's a amazing fulfillment to have attained this point of readability a few subject that's this hard and obscure.” —Raymond Geuss, collage of Cambridge
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Additional resources for Adorno and the Political (Thinking the Political)
If sovereignty does not need democracy, it seems democracy still needs sovereignty to exist: For democracy to be effective, for it to give rise to a system of law that can carry the day, which is to say, for it to give rise to an effective power, the cracy of the demos . . is required. 23 Here we have a quandary not unlike Arendt’s own. 24 And yet, democracy, it appears, cannot even exist without sovereignty. We find that in the end, Derrida ends up with a remarkably similar conclusion to Arendt herself.
26 The effects of the theological and eschatological connections with modern sovereignty can be seen perhaps even more clearly in a paradox that Balibar finds in Schmitt’s own work: Schmitt keeps running up against the fact that while the state can be personified as a subject, the people cannot be. What reason is there for this 26 Sovereign temporalities asymmetry other than the fact that the very notion of the people implies a multiplicity (or even a conflictuality) that resists absolute unification .
In works like On Revolution, Arendt condemns figures like Robespierre and Lenin for hijacking genuinely popular political (and revolutionary) movements and taking power for themselves in the name of such movements (although in her view, Lenin, at least, has a moment of recognizing and appreciating that spontaneous power). She opposes a politics of ‘councils’ (the revolutionary movements themselves in all of their plurality) to a pseudo-politics of parties. The latter serve as vehicles for ideologies that determine ‘what the people really want’, thus promoting a sovereign ‘will’ that in her view ignores and overwhelms the people it ‘represents’.