The Frankfurt Institute Of Social Research Essay

The Frankfurt Institute Of Social Research Essay

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The Frankfurt School, also known as the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research, is a social, philosophical and political movement of thought which was established in 1923; it was the first Marxist orientated research centre affiliated to a historic German university, and the early works of the institute were empirical, historical and focused on the European working class movement (Harrington, 2005, pp. 160). Some of the early thinkers or theorists of the institute includes: Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Walter Benjamin (who was not officially a member but his creative work still had great contribution to the institution) and many others who were members of the institute; the thinkers of the school wanted to develop and continue Marx’s desire of developing a critical theory of society which would serve as an instrument of social change and transformation, and the institute’s main principle was Marxism. During the time in which the institution was set up, there was an upsurge of fascism across Europe and of course in Germany, with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi movement. When Nazis came into power in 1933, Hitler closed down the institution claiming that it had inclinations which were hostile to the state (Dillon, 2012, pp. 184). Horkheimer and his colleagues were exiled from Germany, however they continued to write in German to demonstrate that not everything was tainted with Nazi ideologies; they watched the rise and fall of the Nazi state while also witnessing the post-war reinforcement of the capitalist way of life. This essay will examine the ways in which the Frankfurt School has contributed to the understanding of the cultural dynamics of capitalist society.
Arguably, the many diverse forms ...


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...recise knowledge of the individual’s place in the world). The worker turns to culture as an institution for entertainment, to find relief from their repetitive and boring lives, the individual succumbs to the illusion of uniqueness maintained by capitalism in order to encourage the worker to remain as a committed consumer. They live their lives under the false impression that they are a unique individual based on their choice of music, film, fashion sense and so on, however these are all tainted by capitalist values and the main objective of turning culture into a commodity (Ashe et all., 1998, pp. 140). For these reasons, we can understand that achieving a sufficient level of revolutionary class consciousness is not as straightforward as it may seem, especially while capitalism promotes individualism and further restrains the possibility of unity among the workers.

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