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Theodor W. Adorno and Octavio Paz: Two Visions of Modernity

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2003 was the hundredth anniversary of Theodor W. Adorno's birth. In Germany – and elsewhere – there was clearly a desire to show that critical theory was still alive. Although this article affirms the return to one of the classics of critical theory, it criticises the hagiographic ways in which this was done. If one of the most important challenges facing ‘global modernity' is our ability to connect to the ‘concrete other', Adorno's critical theory is insufficient, and needs to be complemented by other intellectual articulations. This article proposes a comparison between Octavio Paz and Adorno. Both men located their intellectual commitment in a critique of modernity. But, so runs the argument here, Paz knew much better than Adorno that a critique of modernity needs to take into account the multiplicity of modern cultures.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-04-01

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