The dialectic of critique and progress: comparing Peter Wagner and Theodor Adorno

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Abstract

As long as critique trails in the wake of progress, a more radical game-changing interest in its reconstruction remains blocked. This article will contrast the reforming approach adopted by Peter Wagner with Theodor Adorno's attempt to reconstruct the normative foundations of historical progress. The intention here is to use the radicalism of Adorno's critical recovery of this ideal in order to clarify and strengthen the social democratic utopianism that underlies Wagner's reconstruction of progress. The final section of the article extends the significance of this modelling of the dialectics between critique and progress, using it to guide a brief evaluation of some attempts to reclaim critique from its histories of complicity in repressive, Eurocentric versions of historical progress.
LanguageEnglish
Pages357-375
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Volume21
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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dialectics
reconstruction
radicalism
history
evaluation

Keywords

  • Adorno
  • critique
  • Eurocentrism
  • progress
  • Wagner

Cite this

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The dialectic of critique and progress : comparing Peter Wagner and Theodor Adorno. / Johnson, Pauline.

In: European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 21, No. 3, 08.2018, p. 357-375.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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