Adorno and Neoliberalism : The Critique of Exchange Society
Author(s): Charles A. Prusik
The first book to investigate the relevance of Theodor W. Adorno's work for theorizing the age of neoliberal capitalism. Through an engagement with Adorno's critical theory of society, Charles Prusik advances a novel approach to understanding the origins and development of neoliberalism. Offering a corrective to critics who define neoliberalism as an economic or political doctrine, Prusik argues that Adorno's dialectical theory of society can provide the basis for explaining the illusions and forms of domination that structure contemporary life.
Prusik explains the importance of Marx's critique of commodity fetishism in shaping Adorno's work and focuses on the related concepts of exchange, ideology, and natural history as powerful tools for grasping the present. Through an engagement with the ideas of neoliberal economic theory, Adorno and Neoliberalism criticizes the naturalization of capitalist institutions, social relations, ideology, and cultural forms. Revealing its origins in the crises of the Fordist period, Prusik develops Adorno's analyses of class, exploitation, monopoly, and reification to situate neoliberal policies as belonging to the fundamental antagonisms of capitalist society.
“Recovering the fundamentally Marxist economic premises underpinning Adorno's work, Charles Prusik deftly applies the lessons he finds there to our neoliberal world. Of particular interest is his suggestive interpretation of the internet's role in revitalizing the Frankfurt School's critique of the culture industry in the 21st century.” —Martin E. Jay, Ehrman Professor of European History Emeritus, University of California, USA