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Aspects of Adorno’s Method: Constellations and Images

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Chapter Summary

The employment of constellations as a presentation of Adorno's thought was more or less continuous component from that point of Adorno's cultural criticism. The degree of transformation of elements in Adorno's constellations cannot be significant or sustained; the suddenness of their transformation is attributable to the shallowness of the relations the analyst constructs around them. The sociohistorical reality that becomes visible will be conditioned by the interpreter's purpose and intellectual sources, and many of Adorno's essays exhibit only the most vague of sociohistorical contexts. Adorno's constellations, with their sudden, unexplained bursts of light differ from Benjamin's analysis of the baroque tragic dramas. In Adorno's hands the interpretation of the philosopher is fundamentally intuitive and subjective. The point is that what has been portrayed as a perspective informed by historico-religious practices has been illegitimately appropriated to ban secular models of action that would reveal and settle the future.

Keywords: Adorno; constellations; images; messianism; philosophy; sociohistorical contexts

10.1163/9789004248991_004
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