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Knowing The Worst: Critical Theory As Trauma Narrative

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author depicts Critical Theory as a trauma narrative in which a particular group of people affected informs the public about the nature of a great injury and the characteristics of its victims, and thus creates a complex relation between itself and the society it is criticizing. The author develops two implications of the idea of Critical Theory as a trauma narrative: on the one hand, Adorno's criticism of every form of secular theodicy (II) and on the other, his concept of a democratic pedagogy for postwar Germany and beyond. The author concludes by arguing that Critical Theory should be read as an exercise in conceptualizing modern society itself as traumatic.

Keywords: Critical Theory; democratic pedagogy; secular theodicy; trauma narrative



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