Critical Theory

The term critical theory has been used to describe, identify, or self-identify a broad range of theories and theorists. This entry focuses on the two theorists who, although not the first to use the term, did the most to develop it: Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. Horkheimer and Adorno were the two most central figures of the Institute for Social Research, commonly known as the Frankfurt School. The Institute was founded in 1924 as an independent left-wing research institute with Marxist leanings at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany, during the period of the Weimar Republic. This was at a time when the Social Democratic Party, which had Marxist roots, was part of the governing coalition. The founding of the Institute was ...

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