4 Frankfurt School Essay

Submitted By ahmadninetwo
Words: 1575
Pages: 7

Frankfurt School

Theory Journal
No explanations but concepts applied to everyday life
Two paragraphs
Kitchen fight b/w two people
Conflict and new understanding, seen on media etc.

Frankfurt Critical Theory
Context for introduction?
Key theorists?
Key concepts

“Institut fur Sozialforschung” (Institute for Social Research) opened in Germany 1923
Affiliated with university of Frankfurt
Took a Neo Marxist approach with taking the theory and the Marxism and expanding it
Coined the term “Critical Theory”
They also applied social psychology, looking to understand the relationship between individuals in society.

The concern they had was the rise of fascism in Europe. Nazism was on the rise and they wondered why people were accepting it.
Jewish people were stereotyped and Jewish scholars were in danger and were forced to migrate to America or Europe

Went to Columbia
America was more into the ideas of capitalism. Greater outward influence of capitalism and consumerism because people just accepted this era they were not reluctant to it.

Naturalization of consumerism, technology and popular culture. Frankfurt of acceptance of capitalism and consumerism was the rise to fascism in Europe.

Key concepts

the key questions they were asking in their researching was that they took a critical analysis of mass communication and devices

Critical analysis: understand the process and the condition by which we got the state to which we are in today and uncover whose agenda it serves.

Mass culture was the material production that was coming out of factories and being sold to people on a mass level.

All of this mass production was influencing the corporate elite. They looked at the cultural societal political relations.

Influence on media audiences

Ultimate goal was to uncover what they saw was the totalitarian (domination) control in media and cultural production to encourage change/action.

Frankfurt School wanted to show this was happening to people so that they would realize that they are getting advantage of and no equal opportunity for them in this new society.

Two primary focuses:
1. Looking at historical condition and how mass culture emerged and proliferated
2. How these culture industries that give us the activities and the entities that make us feel socially good (movies, bars etc.) How they refine or underscore this capitalist thing?

It should be separate from making money and taking advantage of people.

Reification of capitalism in culture industries


Show the relationship between the individual and the material condition
Situate what was happening in the society in the historical context
Taking in the consideration
Economic processes (Marxism) and also psychic structures of individuals (how people thought about these economic processes that were happening)
Totality of the system

The other approach
“The absolute power of capitalism”
Reveal the totalitarian control instituted with the ‘cultural industry’ .

What motivates drive people.

For Markx there were not any messages whereas in Frankfurt school people had messages.

Key theorists
Max Horkheimer
Theodor Adorno
Walter Benjamin
Herbert Marcuse

Key concepts

Dialectic of Enlightenment (book title + Key concept)

Dialectic: back and forth debate through language to understand two sides
Enlightenment: a period of time when the thought process came grounded from believing that truth existed from Gods and man could actually reason out truth

This means the debate of this change in thought process
Man can actually reason out that a few people had control

However the enlightenment didn’t lead to the freedom because this idea scientism and technology became the new authority with the exclusion of everything else. And therefore:

Result: failure of the enlightenment


Instrumental Reason
“An instrumental reason concerned