Adorn on Totality

A striking passages that cuts against charges of Adorno’s totalizing theory whilst also suggesting ways an Adornian might enter the many numerous debates on subsumption, logical derivation, dual systems theory etc.:

One may even cherish as few illusions as I do about its gravitation towards total forms and about the decline of the individual, but the differences between a pre‑ and post‑individual society are still decisive. In the democratically governed countries of industrial societies, totality is a category of mediation, not one of immediate domination and subjugation. This implies that in industrial market societies by no means everything pertaining to society can simply be deduced from its principle. Such societies contain within themselves countless non‑capitalist enclaves. At issue here is whether, in order to perpetuate itself under the present relations of production, it necessarily needs such enclaves as that of the family. Their specific irrationality compliments, as it were, that of the structure as a whole. Societal totality does not lead a life of its own over and above that which it unites and of which it, in its turn, is composed. It produces and reproduces itself through its individual moments. Many of these moments preserve a relative independence which primitive‑total societies either do not know or do not tolerate. This totality can no more be detached from life, from the co‑operation and the antagonism of its elements than can an element be understood merely as it functions without insight into the whole which has its source [Wesen] in the motion of the individual himself. System and individual entity are reciprocal and can only be apprehended in their reciprocity. Even those enclaves, survivals from previous societies, the favourites of a sociology which desires to unburden itself of the concept of society—as it might of an all too spectacular philosopheme—become what they are only in relation to the dominant totality from which they deviate. This is presumably under estimated in the present most popular sociological conception, that of middle-range theory. Positivism Dispute –107

About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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