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Introduction to ‘Theodor W. Adorno on Marx and the Basic Concepts of Sociological Theory. From a Seminar Transcript in the Summer Semester of 1962’

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This introduction outlines the importance that Hans-Georg Backhaus’s transcript of Adorno’s 1962 seminar on ‘Marx and the Basic Concepts of Sociological Theory’ has for shedding light on the relationship between Adorno’s critical theory and the critique of political economy. Part I signals the importance of the seminar by assaying the Anglophone scholarship on Adorno. Part II contextualises the seminar in the development of his thought. Parts III and IV focus on what the transcript tells us about Adorno’s interpretation of Marx and the importance this interpretation held for Adorno’s critical social theory. Part V points to the influence this interpretation of the critique of political economy had on the formation of the New German Reading of Marx.

Affiliations: 1: John Jay College, CUNY


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22. O’Kane Chris 2018"‘“Society maintains itself despite all the catastrophes that may eventuate”: Critical Theory, Negative Totality and Crisis’" Constellations available at: <>
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