Benjamin and the Frankfurt School

Here are some items relevant to our reading and discussion of T.W. Adorno:

1. First off, the Marxists Internet Archive (MIA) supplies some useful contextual information about the so-called Frankfurt School and its best-known contributors.

Walter Benjamin

2. Secondly, a very well-known and important scholar associated with the Frankfurt School, Walter Benjamin, is referenced in our Adorno reading. The relevant work by Benjamin, a famed essay titled “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” can be found at MIA. Adorno and Benjamin are not interchangeable thinkers, but can be seen as usefully complementing if not contradicting one another.

Ways of Seeing

3. Thirdly, also in connection with Benjamin, the 1972 BBC television series Ways of Seeing (which also led to a book of the same name) was greatly inspired by the work of Benjamin, particularly the aforementioned “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Hosted and largely written by John Berger, this TV series has been very influential. Here FYI, via YouTube, is an excerpt:

The chief questions in play for our Frankfurt School scholars were, is mass culture revolutionary in its potential? And, if so, why is it so often reactionary in its effects?


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