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The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theory and Political Significance



The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theory and Political Significance

Rolf Wiggershaus

ISBN: 978-0-745-61621-6 July 1995 Polity 800 Pages


This widely acclaimed book is a comprehensive and authoritative account of the history and ideas of the Frankfurt School - the most important and influential group of leftist intellectuals, philosophers and social theorists in Germany this century.

Wiggershaus traces the history of the School from its establishment in the early years of the Weimar Republic, through the period of exile in America, to the post-war phase in Frankfurt and the emergence of a younger generation of critical theorists in the 1960s.

He combines biographical profiles of the key figures in the Frankfurt School - including Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse, Fromm, Neumann, Pollock, Kirchheimer and Habermas - with a rigorous analysis of their main theories and ideas. Through the careful use of documentary material, much of which has only recently become available, Wiggershaus is able to shed new light on internal disputes and controversies among members of the School.

The Frankfurt School will be welcomed by students and researchers in the social sciences and philosophy, modern history and German studies, as well as anyone interested in the history and influence of the Frankfurt School.


1. Dawn.

2. Flight.

3. In the New World I: An Independent Institute of Critical Social Research.

4. In the New World II: Productive Decay.

5. Gradual Return.

6. Critical Ornament of a Restoration Society.

7. Critical Theory in Contention.

8. Critical Theory in a Period of Upheaval.





"This is the definitive work on the Frankfurt School, unequalled in its scope and its reliability both on historical details and on broader questions of interpretation." William Outhwaite, University of Sussex

"This is not just the most comprehensive and illuminating book on the Frankfurt School, it is by far the most sensitive and sympathetic." Frankfurter Rundschau

"Widely and justly acclaimed as the most thorough history of the movement ... the volume will unquestionably be essential for anyone concerned with the intellectual history of the period." Times Literary Supplement

"Wiggershaus's monumental, extensively researched study ... will surely become a classic in this area." David Frisby, Professor of Sociology, University of Glasgow

"This book is an absolute must for anyone interested in contemporary social theory and politics." Professor Douglas Kellner, The University of Texas at Austin