Revisiting the Frankfurt School

Essays on Culture, Media and Theory

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  • Edited by David Berry, Southampton Solent University, UK
  • What has become known as the Frankfurt School is often reduced to a small number of theorists in media communication and cultural studies. Challenging this limitation, Revisiting The Frankfurt School introduces a wider theoretical perspective by introducing critical assessments on a number of writers associated with the school that have been mostly marginalized from debate.

    This book therefore expands our understanding by addressing the writings of intellectuals who were either members of the school, or were closely associated with it, but often neglected. It thus brings together the latest research of an international team of experts to examine the work of figures such as the social psychologist Erich Fromm, the philosophy of Siegfried Kracauer, the writer on media and communication Leo Lowenthal, introducing Hans Magnus Enzenberger to the debate, whilst also shedding new light on the work of Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin and Jürgen Habermas.

    A critical reassessment of the contributions of the Frankfurt School and its associates to cultural, media and communication studies, as well as to our modern understanding of new media technology and debate within the public sphere, this book will appeal to those with interests in sociology, philosophy, social psychology, social theory, media and communication, and cultural studies.
  • Contents: Introduction, David Berry; Siegfried Kracauer: critical observations on the discreet charm of the metropolis, Sanda Miller; Walter Benjamin in the intellectual field, Alan O'Connor; Just say no: Herbert Marcuse and the politics of negotiationism, Philip Bounds; Max Horkheimer: issues concerning liberalism and culture, David Berry; Theodor Adorno and Dallas Smythe: culture industry/consciousness industry and the political economy of media and communication, Robert E. Babe; Hans Magnus Enzensberger and the politics of new media technology, Mike Wayne; Jürgen Habermas: the modern media and the public sphere, Julian Petley; The legacy of Leo Lowenthal: culture and communication, Hanno Hardt; On Erich Fromm: why he left the Frankfurt school, Caroline Kamau; Index.
  • About the Editor: David Berry is a Senior Lecturer at Southampton Solent University, UK
  • Reviews: 'Berry brings together an eminent group of scholars in communication and cultural studies who demonstrate the Frankfurt's School's importance for a new generation of critical thinkers. Appreciating the complexity of the School's contribution, the authors range widely over cultural studies, political economy, and Marxist thought to produce an insightful and provocative reassessment.'
    Vincent Mosco, author of The Political Economy of Communication

    'Revisiting the Frankfurt School is a comprehensive and engaging corrective to perennially ill-informed misunderstandings and misrepresentations of critical cultural theory. Mixing fascinating historical and conceptual material, it expertly presents the convincing case that in today's dark age of cultural banality, the Frankfurt School's learned insights have never been more valuable.'
    Paul A. Taylor, University of Leeds, UK

    ‘This collection […] is an interesting counterpart to another collection of essays, Rethinking the Frankfurt School, edited by Jeffrey T. Nealton and Caren Irr, which is structured on this contrary model… an important and often understated set of perspectives on the Frankfurt school… a set of essays that demonstrate the crucial importance of more neglected Frankfurt School associates to our understanding the history of the Frankfurt Institute, the academic disciplines of media and cultural studies, and the contemporary world.’

    'This rewarding collection of ten new chapters concentrates on lesser-known dimensions and, say, thinkers and scholars less often recognised as members of the Frankfurt School such as Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Erich Fromm, plus some followers like Hans Magnus Enzenberger and Dallas Smythe… Revisiting the Frankfurt School will be most useful for academics who teach Frankfurt School, either in philosophy, sociology, media and Cultural Studies, who seek clear examples and contemporary demonstrations taken from the 21st century.'
    Sociological Research Online

    'The book’s greatest contribution is the extent to which it reveals the broad spectrum of hope and despair for cultural production shared by the various members and associates of the Frankfurt School. It offers most to the reader fascinated by a pivotal epoch and its consequences.'
    Media International Australia

    'The inclusion of [the] lesser well known academics is certainly a most refreshing aspect of the book, and cross readings and comparisons offer a stimulating account of understanding what constitutes Frankfurt School thinking, opening up new lines of inquiry in studying both critical theory and the sociology of intellectuals… this book is a valuable contribution to critical theory and media and communication studies from thoughtful scholars who perceptively revive the Frankfurt School tradition to make sense of the technologically assisted cultural processes and politics of our times.'
    LSE Review of Books