The Anglophone Reception of Critical Theory and Western Marxism

In the past few weeks, I have been trying to reconstruct the development of the predominant reception of Frankfurt School Critical Theory in the Anglophone world for the introduction to my book. This has led me to do a deep dive into Telos, which I have discovered is a vanishing mediator of the perspectives on the Frankfurt School and Western Marxism popularized by the work of Jay and Perry Anderson. More specifically, it seems to me that the categories of Western Marxism and Frankfurt School Critical Theory were objects of contestation in a debate that occurred in the decade following the crisis of the New Left over which theory and strategy should be pursued. Telos advocated for a Western Marxist perspective that included the Frankfurt School. Their interlocutors advocated for classical Marxism, marxist and bourgeois science. (at times Telos harkened this debate back to the debates between Lenin and the ultraleft) Hence Jay’s, Anderson’s and others interpretations and criticisms of Western Marxism and the Frankfurt School are themselves criticized by authors such as Russell Jacoby and James Schmidt. Sadly, Telos’s perspective and this debate has been more or less lost and Anderson and Jay’s position predominate in Marxist and Habermasian Critical Theory scholarship. Moreover, I wonder to what extent this debate has repeated itself following Occupy and the electoral defeats of Corbyn and Sanders?


About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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