Adorno’s notion of administered society is roundly criticized. Some Marxists say it posited the overcoming of the law of value. Other Marxists say it posited the overcoming of class struggles. Habermasians say it left no room for emancipatory types of reason. Finally, even those who defend Adorno say such a theory no longer applies to neoliberalism. But I think it can be defended and should be revived.
In the first place, these Marxist criticisms are overblown, the Habermasian criticism is beside the point, and the periodization criticism fails to understand ‘Keynesianism’, ‘Neoliberalism,’ and ‘Capitalism.’
In the second place, I think the theory could be fruitfully used to engage with romanticized notions of Keynesianism or social democracy.
In the third place, I think it can be revived by reading it together with Clarke’s critique of periodization and Neocleous’s ideas of the police and administration. From this perspective ‘Keynesianism’ and ‘Neoliberalism’ are both approaches to reproducing capitalism through the administration and preservation of the constitutive separation of capitalist society.