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You are here: Platypus /Archive for tag Theodor W. Adorno

Whenever approaching any phenomenon, Adorno’s procedure is one of immanent dialectical critique. The phenomenon is treated as not accidental or arbitrary but as a necessary form of appearance that points beyond itself, indicating conditions of possibility for change. It is a phenomenon of the necessity for change. The conditions of possibility for change indicated by the phenomenon in question are explored immanently, from within. The possibility for change is indicated by a phenomenon’s self-contradictions, which unfold from within itself, from its own movement, and develop from within its historical moment.

From which psychological preconditions is it possible to come to a “rational” view of society—a society which, in its current mode of rationality, is arguably less than 200 years old? If such a view is putatively or provisionally achieved, to what extent are contributing psychogenetic factors overcome and left behind, and to what extent do they remain latent or dormant?

Two years before AP appeared in print, Adorno wrote what was intended to be the last chapter of the volume, “Remarks on the Authoritarian Personality.” For reasons that are unclear, the draft never made it past the editing phase. More curiously, his typescript remains unpublished until this day. Thus, for this special issue of the Platypus Review, we will publicly circulate “Remarks” for the first time.

Our probing into prejudice is devoted to subjective aspects. We are not analyzing objective social forces which produce and reproduce bigotry, such as economic and historical determinants. Even short-term factors like propaganda do not enter the picture per se, though a number of major hypotheses stem from propaganda analyses carried out by the Institute of Social Research. All the stimuli enhancing prejudice, and even the entire cultural climate—imbued with minority stereotypes as it is—are regarded as presuppositions. Their effect upon our subjects is not followed up; we remain, so to say, in the realm of “reactions,” not of stimuli.