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The SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory expounds the development of critical theory from its founding thinkers to its contemporary formulations in an interdisciplinary setting. It maps the terrain of a critical social theory, expounding its distinctive character vis-a-vis alternative theoretical perspectives, exploring its theoretical foundations and developments, conceptualising its subject matters both past and present, and signalling its possible future in a time of great uncertainty. Taking a distinctively theoretical, interdisciplinary, international and contemporary perspective on the topic, this wide-ranging collection of chapters is arranged thematically over three volumes: Volume I: Key Texts and Contributions to a Critical Theory of Society Volume II: Themes Volume III: Contexts This Handbook is essential reading for scholars and students in the field, showcasing the scholarly rigor, ...

Chapter 36: Society as ‘Totality’: On the Negative-Dialectical Presentation of Capitalist Socialization

Society as ‘Totality’: On the Negative-Dialectical Presentation of Capitalist Socialization
Society as ‘Totality’: On the Negative-Dialectical Presentation of Capitalist Socialization
Lars Heitmann Jacob Blumenfeld

The primacy of totality should also not be hypostatized. The totality reproduces itself again and again out of the details of social life, ultimately from individuals. If we attach such value to the totality of society, Mr. Dahrendorf, this is not because we are intoxicated with grand concepts, with the power and glory of the totality, but on the contrary, because in it we see the doom that, if I may cite myself, ‘the whole is the false’.1

The concept of society as a ‘totality’ is of the utmost importance in critical theory. This is particularly ...

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