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Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno is widely recognised as one of the giants of twentieth century philosophy and social theory. His work leaves a legacy of wide ranging analysis (on topics as diverse as anti-Semitism, psychoanalysis and jazz), an equally broad and sophisticated conceptual vocabulary (‘instrumental reason’, ‘negative dialectic’, ‘damaged life’) and a range of reflections at once poignant and provocative (‘Life has become the ideology of its own absence’; ‘Enlightenment is totalitarian’). This chapter attempts to briefly illustrate the key themes of Adorno’s thinking and its potential relation to the International Relations. To do so it briefly outlines how Adorno’s key ideas evolved and their relation to ‘Critical Theory’, the extent to which International Relations figures in the writings of Adorno and, conversely, the extent to which Adorno has and might still inform the study of International Relations (IR).
Translated title of the contributionAdorno
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Theorists and International Relations
EditorsJ Edkins, N Vaughan Williams
Pages7 - 18
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780415474665
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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