Front cover

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Half title, Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

Gloomy. Pessimistic. Apolitical. Elitist. Escapist. Withdrawn. An aesthete. A cultural mandarin. Until very recently, any time Theodor W. Adorno was mentioned, one of these descriptions usually accompanied his name. Georg Lukács’s now famous characterization of Adorno, noted above, ...

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Introduction: Another Adorno

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pp. 1-24

In the early 1940s two distinct images and metaphors seem to have been swirling around in Theodor Adorno’s head. One soon became part of Frankfurt School lore, immediately recognizable to anyone who studies this circle of scholars or one of its most famous members. The other was never well known in the first place and has been all but lost to history. ...

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1. Seeing the Large-Scale System: The Pathologies of Modern America and Pseudo-Democracy

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pp. 25-44

Scholars have struggled over how best to characterize Adorno’s complicated relationship with the United States, an area of research that has gained increased attention in recent years.1 Adorno is best known for his sharp criticisms of the alienation, reification, monopolization, commodification, and homogenization defining American culture under modern capitalism. ...

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2. Experience as a Precondition for Meaningful Democracy: Sensory Perception, Affect, and Materialism

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pp. 45-66

In the foreword to a volume on affect theory, Michael Hardt makes a connection between autonomy and receptivity, between our ability to give the law to ourselves and our capacity for responding to other bodies in the world.1 Tracing a lineage back to Spinoza, Hardt writes that “the mind’s power to think corresponds to its receptivity to external bodies; ...

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3. Critique and the Practice of Democracy: Negative Dialectics, Autonomy, and Compassion

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pp. 67-88

Recent studies have analyzed the practical, ethical, and political dimensions of Adorno’s life and work, exploring his thoughts on critique as praxis and articulating the nature of his unique modes of political engagement. Additionally, several biographies of Adorno emphasize the political aspects of his life and work.1 ...

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4. Democratic Leadership: Egalitarian Guidance and a Plan for Empowering the People

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pp. 89-104

In 1950 Adorno published an essay, written in English, titled “Democratic Leadership and Mass Manipulation” in the volume Studies in Leadership: Leadership and Democratic Action, edited by Alvin W. Gouldner. The volume aims to analyze leadership in ways that, as the editor says, “promise some help to people engaged in democratic action.”1 ...

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5. Democratic Pedagogy: Resistance and an Alternative Model for Civic Education

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pp. 105-122

After his return to Germany in the years following World War II, Adorno wrote a number of essays and gave radio addresses and interviews exploring how schools, teaching, and civic education could change to become less prone to fostering authoritarian tendencies and more conducive to robust democracy.1 ...

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6. Seeing Small-Scale Resistance: Turning Countertendencies into Vaccines to Strengthen Democratic Practice

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pp. 123-144

In chapter 3, which focuses on Adorno’s practice of critique, I discussed one category of scholars exploring the political significance of his thoughts on justice, ethics, aesthetics, resistance, and thinking as a praxis. But there is a second category of thinkers who seek to use Adorno’s thoughts to inform politics today in an even more direct, immediate, and explicit way than the first group of thinkers discussed earlier. ...

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Conclusion: Adorno and A Postcapitalist Politics

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pp. 145-158

In this book we have seen Adorno lay out the theoretical underpinnings for a democratic politics, outline a plan to put it into action, and begin to enact that project in his own writings and radio addresses. My goal has been to connect the dots between Adorno’s writings in a way that seems true to his intentions, ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 159-160

It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to acknowledge the people who have invested their time and energy in reading and responding to this project. In chronological order, I would like to thank Paul Apostolidis for the valuable feedback he gave me as chair of a panel I co-organized at the April 2011 Western Political Science Association conference, titled “Adorno and Democracy: ...

Notes

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pp. 161-200

Bibliography

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pp. 201-208

Index

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pp. 209-218