Critical Theory and the Challenge of Praxis: Beyond Reification, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Critical Theory and the Challenge of Praxis

Beyond Reification, 1st Edition

By Stefano Giacchetti Ludovisi


240 pages

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pub: 2015-06-17
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This volume explores possibility of constructing a political outcome from the theory of the early years of the Frankfurt School, countering the commonly-made criticism that critical theory is highly speculative. With chapters exploring the work of figures central to the Frankfurt School, including Benjamin, Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Habermas and Honneth, Critical Theory and the Challenge of Praxis reveals that it is only with a fixed and dogmatic model of politics that critical theory is incompatible, and that it can in fact yield a rich variety of political models, ranging from new forms of Marxism to more contemporary ’dialogical’ models centred on the politics of identity. With attention to new ways of contrasting alienation and reification in contemporary forms of social organisation, this book demonstrates that the thought of the Frankfurt school can in fact be an invaluable tool not only for developing a critique of advanced capitalism, but also for originating alternative models of political praxis. As such, it will appeal to scholars of social and political theory, with interests in classical sociological thought and continental philosophy.


’The Frankfurt School, in general, and Theodor W. Adorno, in particular, have often been accused of abandoning Marx’s concept of praxis. These essays demonstrate from a variety of illuminating perspectives that, even though they rejected unreflective actionism or an uncritical identification with the proletariat, they were deeply concerned with the barriers to emancipatory praxis in the present and its possible re-emergence in the future. Anyone interested in the Frankfurt School and its vital relevance to contemporary political and theoretical debates will be well-served by this impressive volume.’ John D. Abromeit, SUNY Buffalo State, USA and author of Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School ’This is a timely collection in more ways than one. Assembling leading scholars in the field, the volume illustrates the Frankfurt School’s continuous capacity to make us understand current issues and global problems, old and new. Moreover, the collection profoundly challenges the wide-spread assumption that critical theory has little impact on political practice. Anyone interested in the Frankfurt School and its contemporary relevance will greatly benefit from this book. A must-read.’ Lars Rensmann, John Cabot University, Italy

Table of Contents

Adorno’s Global Subject – Deborah Cook            

Adorno’s Criticism of Marx’s Social Theory – Stefano Petrucciani              

Adorno as Marx’s Scholar: Models of Resistance Against the Administered World – Stefano Giacchetti Ludovisi 

The Question of Praxis in Adorno’s Critical Theory – James Gordon Finlayson          

Praxis in the Age of Bit Information and Sham Revolutions: Adorno on Praxis in Need of Thinking – Idit Dobbs-Weinstein               

Against the Reification of Theory and Praxis: on Critical Theory and Empirical Social Research – Karin Stögner

Normative Ambivalence and the Future of Critical Theory: Adorno & Horkheimer, Castro-Gómez, Quijano on Rationality, Modernity, Totality – Rocío Zambrana

Realizing Philosophy: Marx, Lukács and the Frankfurt School – Andrew Feenberg

On the Critique of Rights: Adorno, Critical Theory and Natural Law – Robert Fine

Rethinking Critical Theory Once Again: Immanent Critique and Immanent Normativity – Alessandro Ferrara

How Practical Can Critical Theory Be? – Marcos Nobre

Habermas on Solidarity and Praxis: Between Institutional Reform and Redemptive Revolution – David Ingram

The Colour of Adorno’s Thought: On Hito Steyerl’s Adorno’s Grey – Samir Gandesha

An Astonished Facticity. Toward a Meta-fetishist Ethnography – Massimo Canevacci

About the Author

Stefano Giacchetti Ludovisi is Lecturer in Philosophy at the Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General