By Theodor W. Adorno
The essays accrued right here supply an research of the irrational dimensions of contemporary tradition that's either well timed and tense within the 1990s.Adorno’s principles are suitable to the knowledge of phenomena as it appears different as astrology and “New Age” cults, the facility of neo-fascist propaganda and the re-emergence of anti-Semitism, and the mental foundation of renowned culture.
The longest essay, “The Stars right down to Earth” bargains a content material research of the astrology column in a Fifties l. a. newspaper.Adorno argues that the column promotes mental dependency and social conformism in a lot a similar approach as fascist propaganda. He continues that an analogous ideas function within the mainstream items of “the tradition industry.” the 3 shorter papers remove darkness from assorted points of Adorno’s argument: the relation of occultism to orthodox smooth inspiration, the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism, and the “psycho-technic” rhetoric of fascist propaganda.
Stephen Crook’s creation significantly stories Adorno’s argument and provides an overview of its modern relevance.
Taken jointly, those essays provide an astringent antidote to any facile optimism in regards to the democratic and pluralist personality of postmodern renowned culture.Adorno identifies an irrationalist dynamic which implicates the main enlightened and emancipated parts of up to date tradition. His unsettling arguments call for the eye of somebody attracted to pop culture, severe thought, racism and authoritarian politics.
From Library Journal
These 4 essays, initially written among the overdue Thirties and mid-1950s, learn major cases of what Adorno calls "irrational" platforms of idea in modern tradition. He analyzes such phenomena as occultism, anti-Semitism, and the connection among anti-Semitism and fascist pondering. His research illustrates universal parts in all of the structures tested. The lead article, "The Stars right down to Earth," is a content material research of the astrology column of the l. a. instances in the course of a trip Adorno made to the USA in 1953; it units the tone for the opposite essays. what's relatively transparent from Adorno's exam is the delicate and manipulative nature of such ideals. The resurgence of utmost non secular and political firms, and the trouble with which definite styles of idea appear to die, illustrates the level to which these principles have penetrated our tradition and the hazards they nonetheless carry. Editor Crook's lead-ins to the essays are helpful. prompt for all collections of the heritage and sociology of up to date tradition and mass movements.
Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
'There is not any query of the modern significance and relevance of those essays. T. W. Adorno is likely one of the nice critics of the position of irrational authoritarianism in modern society.' Douglas Kellner
'This assortment demonstrates the continued relevance of Adorno's paintings to the research and realizing of contemporary instances. an excellent contribution to the sociology of racism, anti-Semitism and renowned culture.' - Bryan S. Turner, co-editor, The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology
'Theodor Adorno returns from the grave to bring this well timed caution concerning the hazards of superstition.' Review
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Extra info for Adorno: The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture
London: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1978, p. 41. Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989, ch. 3. , chs. 4, 6. , p. 153. Billig, Fascists, p. 38. Harris, From Class Struggle to the Politics of Pleasure. London: Routledge, 1992, p. 14. Jhally (eds), Cultural Politics in Contemporary America. McGuigan, Cultural Populism. London: Routledge, 1992, p. 244. Jhally, “Introduction” to Cultural Politics in Contemporary America, pp. 6, 13. McGuigan, Cultural Populism, p. 48. Of course, the populists who make the most fuss about popular pleasures are the last people to take them at face value: pleasures are heavily glossed as “really” about resistance, liberation etc.
Here, the occult 35 THE STARS DOWN TO EARTH appears rather institutionalized, objectified and, to a large extent, socialized. , exchange of commodities), so people responding to the stimuli we are here investigating seem in a way “alien” to the experience on which they claim their decisions are based. They participate in them largely through the mediation of magazines and newspapers, the personal advice of professional astrologers being too expensive, and frequently accept such information as reliable sources of advice rather than pretend to have any personal basis for their belief.
Everything sounds respectable, sedate and sensible and astrology as such is treated as something established and socially recognized, an uncontroversial element of our culture, as though it were somewhat bashful of its own shadiness. Hardly ever does the practical advice tendered to the reader transgress the limits of what one finds in any column dealing with human relations and popular psychology. The only difference is that the writer leans on his distinctly magical and irrational authority which seems to be strangely out of proportion with the common-sense content of what he has to offer.