Naturally Marxism must take note of this situation. Another person associated with F. S. was Adorns a philosopher and sociologist. Frankfurt school of critical theory the grouping of left-wing thinkers and a style of radical social theory associated with members of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, which was founded in 1922 by Felix Weil, a wealthy political scientist with a strong commitment to Marxist radicalism. The Institute for Social Research thus became affiliated with Columbia University until 1949, when it returned to Frankfurt. They conceived their work to be a contribution to clarifying the opposing forces at work in society and, thereby, raising the class consciousness of the exploited, and providing them with a weapon in their struggle for emancipation. (4) The members of the F. S. were independent-minded and they analysed various tenets of Marxism in their respective viewpoints and, at the same time, independently. There is no doubt that the F. S. had launched a revolutionary movement and its contents were intellectual. Herbert Marcuse was a philosopher and Franz Neumann was a renowned political scientist. It was not a school, in the physical sense, but rather a school of thought associated with scholars at the … The members of the Frankfurt School tried to develop a theory of society that was based on Marxism and Hegelian philosophy but which also utilized the insights of psychoanalysis, sociology, existential philosophy, and other disciplines. The membership also included political sociologists, general sociologists etc. The extent of their success may be questioned but their objective was honest and there is no doubt about it. Most of them disavowed orthodox Marxism, though they remained deeply critical of capitalism. “The abundant academic and publistic output of the Frankfurt School covers multifarious domains of humanistic science: philosophy, empirical sociology, musicology, social psychology, and the history of the Far East, the Soviet economy, and psychoanalysis, the theory of literature and of law”. Hence the academic output of the F. S. can be called a “compendium” (We use the word compendium in a restricted sense). The members of the F. S. did not subscribe to the view that the proletarians were universally exploited, that is, everywhere they were exploited and, at the same time, alienated. Horkheimer was basically a Hegelian and he explained some ideas and concepts of Marx in the light of “reason” propounded by Hegel. It was an academic institute and its members fully concentrated on the discussion of academic matters mainly Marxism and its relation with other subjects, mainly branches of social science. But the school claims that it is profoundly a revolutionary intellectual movement. David Held, in his article published in Bottomore edited A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, writes: “The Frankfurt School can’t be associated directly with an anti-Bolshevik radicalism and an open-ended or critical Marxism. Much of this research was published in the institute’s journal, Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (1932–41; “Journal for Social Research”). [14] The members of the F. S. were deeply concerned with growing influence of totalitarianism and its menace. The Frankfurt School was contemporary of Nazism. But the Institute was a department of Frankfurt University. The Frankfurt School respects your privacy Our websites use various cookies with different functions. One feature is, according to F. S., the Marxism is not a norm but a “starting point and an aid to the analysis and criticism of existing culture” Because of this the members of the school have borrowed terms, arguments and concepts from other disciplines which have been freely used to analyse Marxian concepts and ideas. The view of Horkhenimer is based on a practical situation of capitalist society. Horkheimer opposed the application of rigorous scientific methods for the study of social sciences. The F. S. was not a club or an ordinary institute. The capitalists never support the agitation of the working class. Some of the star figures of the F. S. are: Max Horkheimer, who was a leading personality of the F. S. He was a sociologist, philosopher and a psychologist. In the 1920s Lukacs and Korsch were leading figures of Marxism. Black Friday Sale! This is purely a subject of psychology and F. S. took interest to view Marxism in this light. The Genesis of Frankfurt School 2. It thought that the march of totalitari­anism would finally destroy the basic qualities of man and invite all-round degradation of universal values. (2) The members of the F. S. were not associated with any political party or movement. In 1923, Felix decided to use his father’s money to found an institute specifically devoted to the study of German society in the light of a Marxist approach. Many of the members of F. S. suggested that Marxism must be analysed in the light of this new aspect of human nature. Critical Theory: Frankfurt School, Characteristics of Critical Theory and Critical Theorists! Fascism and authoritarianism were also prominent subjects of study. Assume that his economic necessities are fulfilled. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Let us quote him: “The Frankfurt School differs basically from Lukacs while accepting Marx’s position as to the exploitation and alienation of the proletariat, it did not identify with the latter in the sense of regarding its existing class consciousness, let alone the dictates of the communist party, as an a priori norm”. Particularly when Nazism was at the zenith of its power or influence, the F. S. was deeply engaged in … Keeping the above idea in mind a group of intellectuals founded the Institute for Social Research in 1923. Without attaining consciousness and spontaneity the proletarians would never be able to win the battle against the capitalist. But he added a new factor. Most of the institute’s scholars were forced to leave Germany after Adolf Hitler’s accession to power (1933), and many found refuge in the United States. The members of the F. 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