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The Sociology of Theodor Adorno


  • Date Published: June 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107416741

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About the Authors
  • Theodor Adorno is a widely-studied figure, but most often with regard to his work on cultural theory, philosophy and aesthetics. The Sociology of Theodor Adorno provides the first thorough English-language account of Adorno's sociological thinking. Matthias Benzer reads Adorno's sociology through six major themes: the problem of conceptualising capitalist society; empirical research; theoretical analysis; social critique; the sociological text; and the question of the non-social. Benzer explains the methodological and theoretical ideas informing Adorno's reflections on sociology and illustrates Adorno's approach to examining social life, including astrology, sexual taboos and racial prejudice. Benzer clarifies Adorno's sociology in relation to his work in other disciplines and the inspiration his sociology took from social thinkers such as Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Kracauer and Benjamin. The book raises critical questions about the viability of Adorno's sociological mode of procedure and its potential contributions and challenges to current debates in social science.

    • Includes discussions of untranslated writings and offers the first English translations of some key passages from Adorno's work
    • Provides illustrations of Adorno's sociological inquiries into capitalist society with reference to several of his specific studies, including details of daily life, astrological literature, spare time, sexual taboos, and the limits of transformative political action
    • Raises critical questions about potential intersections between Adorno's sociological approach and current developments in various areas of social science
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The work of Theodor Adorno is a major influence in several disciplines - but surprisingly marginal in sociology. This is a loss, because Adorno's work is rich with insight. Matthias Benzer not only makes Adorno's sometimes recondite writings clear, he shows the broad sociological perspective that informs his work.' Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council and University Professor of the Social Sciences, New York University

    'A comprehensive, subtle exploration of Adorno's sociology. Benzer offers an illuminating study of Adorno's writings on a wide range of methodological and theoretical issues with riveting discussion of metaphysical experiences that he believed were untainted by an otherwise totally socialized, administered world.' George Cavalletto, Professor, City University of New York, and author of Crossing the Psycho-Social Divide: Freud, Weber, Adorno and Elias (2007).

    'A tremendous book which brings Adorno's sociology to life and subjects it to careful analysis as never before in the English speaking world. Benzer has produced a work of real importance.' Nick Crossley, Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester

    'Benzer has provided us with a welcome, lucid and critical monograph, one that presents us with a much overdue stimulating exploration of Adorno's sociology, a basic component of any critical theory of society. This volume should be essential reading for those looking for a new and exciting analysis of one of the key figures in the tradition of critical social theory.' David Frisby, Emeritus Professor, London School of Economics

    'This book does an excellent job in clarifying Adorno's sociological approach in all its complexity.' LSE Review of Books

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107416741
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Nothing under the sun
    2. Sociological material
    3. Sociological reflection
    4. The socio-critical dimension
    5. The sociological text
    6. Sociology and the non-social

  • Author

    Matthias Benzer, University of Sheffield
    Matthias Benzer is Peacock Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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