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Civil society and the globalization of its "state of emergency:" The longing for the totally other as a force of social change

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on Max Horkheimer's and Theodor W. Adorno's research on the questions that were posed concerning the collapse of bourgeois society into barbarity. These questions include: Why decent and reasonable people suddenly all go crazy? How is it that men stand in the trenches for years and live like animals, and for what? Why has modern, so-called enlightened Western society, with all the technological and scientific capabilities of overcoming the vast majority of social problems, collapsed into a new form of barbarity? and What has happened to humanity? The chapter gives expression to Horkheimer's critical theory of religion and the longing for the totally Other as a way by which humanity can free itself from the reifying mythical spell of the enlightenment in the form of positivistic science and the increasingly cybernetic production and consumption process of capitalism.

Keywords: capitalism; civil society; Max Horkheimer's critical theory of religion; social change; Theodor W. Adorno



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