Title Theodor Adorno and the Century of Negative Identity
Author Eric Oberle
ISBN 9781503606067
List price GBP 18.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 352
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Stanford University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“An indispensable contribution to the history and theory of the concept of identity in the twentieth century, Eric Oberle’s book has convinced me that Adorno’s wrestling with this question not only permits but requires a reinterpretation of the whole body of his work.”

—Gerald Izenberg, Professor Emeritus, Washington University in St. Louis


“The historical and philosophical literature on Adorno is abundant, and the bar is high for new work. With a mix of persuasive analysis, meticulous research, and astute commentary, Eric Oberle’s book clears it.”

—Warren Breckman, University of Pennsylvania


Identity has become a central feature of national conversations: identity politics and identity crises are the order of the day. We celebrate identity when it comes to personal freedom and group membership, and we fear the power of identity when it comes to discrimination, bias, and hate crimes. Drawing on Isaiah Berlin’s famous distinction between positive and negative liberty, Theodor Adorno and the Century of Negative Identity argues for the necessity of acknowledging a dialectic within the identity concept. Exploring the intellectual history of identity as a social idea, Eric Oberle shows the philosophical importance of identity’s origins in American exile from Hitler’s fascism. Positive identity was first proposed by Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm, while negative identity was almost immediately put forth as a counter-concept by Fromm’s colleague, Theodor Adorno. Oberle explains why, in the context of the racism, authoritarianism, and the hard-right agitation of the 1940s, the invention of a positive concept of identity required a theory of negative identity. This history in turn reveals how autonomy and objectivity can be recovered within a modern identity structured by domination, alterity, ontologized conflict, and victim blaming.




Chapter 1: ”Jazz , the Wound”: Negative Identity, Culture, and the Shadow of Race

Chapter 2: America; or, the Stranger

Chapter 3: Negative Identities of the Subject in Wartime America

Chapter 4: Critical Theory Goes to War: The Critique of Positive Identity and Positive Science

Chapter 5: Negative Modeling: Objectivity, Normativity, and the Refusal of the Universal

Chapter 6: Subject/Object and Disciplinarity





About the Author:

Eric Oberle is Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University.

Target Audience:

People interested in History.

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