Dissertation Abstracts

From monopoly capitalism to the process of civilization: the critique of domination in the debates at the Institute of Social Research in the beginning of the 1940s and in the elaboration of the Dialectic of Enlightenment

Author: Regatieri, Ricardo P, ricardopagliuso@usp.br
Department: Sociology
University: University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Supervisor: Ricardo Musse
Year of completion: 2015
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: Critical Theory , Dialectic of Enlightenment , Monopoly Capitalism , Civilization
Areas of Research: Theory , History of Sociology , Political Sociology


The dissertation deals with discussions that took place at the Institute of Social Research during its exile in the United States in the first half of the 1940s. By approaching a debate on National Socialism organized by the Institute at Columbia University in 1941 attended by Friedrich Pollock, Franz Neumann, Otto Kirchheimer, Arcadius R. L. Gurland and Herbert Marcuse , it tracks the formation of Horkheimer and Adornos critique of monopoly capitalism. As the dissertation shows, the approach of monopolistic society adopted by Horkheimer and Adorno fuses with a critique of the process of civilization. The conflation of the critique of historical present with the critique of civilization culminates in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, a jointly authored book that was concluded in 1944. By viewing this work as an answer to the Columbia debate, the dissertation reconstructs the debate and, furthermore, seeks to establish mediations between it and Horkheimer and Adornos theoretical output up to and including the Dialectic of Enlightenment. The dissertation analyzes the transformations that occurred as well as new determinations that emerged in the intellectual trajectory of the two authors during this period.