Rethinking the Communicative Turn

Adorno, Habermas, and the Problem of Communicative Freedom

By Martin Morris

Subjects: Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in Social and Political Thought
Paperback : 9780791447987, 255 pages, January 2001
Hardcover : 9780791447970, 255 pages, January 2001

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Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABBREVIATIONS

1. INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 The Frankfurt School and Habermas: A Snapshot View
1.2 Conflicting Paradigmatic Issues

 

2. CRITICAL THEORY AND THE ECLIPSE OF 'IDEOLOGY': THE EARLY FRANKFURT VISION AND ITS TRANSFORMATION

 

2.1 The Program of Critical Theory and the Problem of 'Ideology' Critique
2.2 The Dialectic of Enlightenment
2.3 Concluding Remarks

 

3. HABERMAS AND THE CRITIQUE OF REIFICATION

 

3.1 The Habermasian Critique of Reification in Late Capitalism
3.2 Capitalism and Social Crisis
3.3 Real Abstraction and Ideology
3.4 Concluding Remarks

 

4. FROM THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH TO THE PARADOXES OF APORIA AND CONTRADICTION: HABERMAS AND ADORNO

 

4.1 The Primacy of Language-Use
4.2 Validity and the Ethical Force of Language-Use
4.3 The Performative Contradiction in the Radical Critique of Domination
4.4 A Concluding Note on Contradiction and Dialectic

 

5. RECOVERING THE ETHICAL AND POLITICAL FORCE OF ADORNO'S AESTHETIC-CRITICAL THEORY

 

5.1 The Priority of the Object and the Passion for Critique
5.2 Language and the Subject: Adorno
5.3 Art and the Recovery of Negativity and Non-Identity: Toward a Politics of the 'Mimetic Shudder'

 

6. CONCLUSION

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Assesses linguistic versus aesthetic visions of critical theory and their capacity to contribute to the analysis of contemporary democratic society.

Description

Contrasting aesthetic versus linguistic centered visions for critical theory and the analysis of contemporary democratic theory and society, Martin Morris draws special attention to the concept of communicative freedom. He problematizes the paradigm shift within critical theory from the "philosophy of the subject" to the communicative action theory championed by Jürgen Habermas by opposing Habermas's reconstruction of critical theory to that of Theodor W. Adorno.

Martin Morris has most recently taught politics at York University in Toronto.

Reviews

"Morris makes a compelling argument for reevaluating Adorno's legacy and revitalizing critical theory as a whole." — International Studies in Philosophy

"It is an original work in the area of critical theory in two ways. First it pushes critical theory forward through a reconstruction of centrally important, though misunderstood and neglected concepts, and second, it attempts to develop new insights and arguments on the philosophical foundation secured through this reconstruction. Despite the many historical treatments of his work, Adorno is, not to put too fine a point on it, relatively virgin territory for social and political theory, and it is in the area of explicating and beginning to develop the significance of Adorno's work that Morris succeeds where others have yet barely to venture." — Morton Schoolman, University at Albany, State University of New York

"Morris provides a very strong Adornoesque critique of Habermas's 'communicative turn' and a spirited and engaging defense of Adorno against Habermas. He makes important contributions to critical theory that should interest a wide range of people concerned with the Frankfurt School and the work of Habermas and Adorno." — Douglas Kellner, author of Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern