Methodology

Critical Theory and the Sociology of Knowledge: A by Leon Bailey

By Leon Bailey

The distinction among the severe conception of the Frankfurt tuition and Karl Mannheim's sociology of data has frequently been famous, yet by no means totally explicated. so much bills of the Frankfurt School's critique of Mannheim have taken the shape of partisan affirmations or denials of its luck. This learn offers the 1st targeted comparability of those conflicting methods to the idea of ideology. Following reconstructions of the origins of the 2 views and a overview of the Frankfurt School's critique of Mannheim, a scientific comparability is built round the 4 significant problems with totality, realization and social life, ideology, and fact. An research of the importance of the distinction for present debates in social conception is on the market in end.

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His essays remain intentionally in­ complete and fragmentary, gesturing toward the contradictory world beyond themselves. To see the point the reader must surren­ der all expectations of easy intelligibility and enter into the effort of conceptualization and the experience of non-identity. " K They are designed to break apart conventional categories of thought and thereby prod the reader to further reflection. As the title of his masterwork indicates, however, Adorno eventually purged all positive, affirmative elements from his concep­ tion of dialectics.

For Horkheimer, the origins of critical theory could be traced to the attempt to comprehend the basic contradictions of capitalist society. Marx's critique of political economy had exposed the internal contradictions of capitalism and explained why after an initial period of progress capitalism had been doomed to worsening crises and the escalating threat of a lapse into barbarism. Therefore, in pronouncing its verdict on the established society and pointing to the need for a more rational alternative, crit­ ical theory was engaging itself in the clarification of a practical pro­ cess already underway in reality.

But as Susan Buck-Morss has observed, Adorno's "arguments" tend to have the quality of quicksilver. Just when one believes oneself to have finally grasped a firm point, it seems to slip away into a neverending sequence of negations. 89 It is no wonder that the reader may be alternatively baffled and mesmerized by Adorno's style. His essays remain intentionally in­ complete and fragmentary, gesturing toward the contradictory world beyond themselves. To see the point the reader must surren­ der all expectations of easy intelligibility and enter into the effort of conceptualization and the experience of non-identity.

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