Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Enlightenment Project' keyword pg.1 of 1
27 JANUARY 2012

Adorno's ambitions for the constellation

"17. But I am eliciting these implications of Adorno's reservations about Gestalt because what they imply is what Adorno leaves unsaid here, namely the contrast with his ambitions for the constellation. I should caution here that Adorno sometimes uses the word 'constellation' to designate historically given, that is, already familiarized, ideological arrays or Gestalts [for example, Critical Models 138, 260]; my usage henceforth will connote 'constellation' in the sense Adorno valorizes, as a device with the potential to be turned, in somewhat the manner of the Brechtian V–effect, against such familiarizations (though just this dissident potential, of course, is what mid–century avant–gardists were seizing on in Gestalt). And as we'll see, the word's 'antithetical' reversals of meaning are themselves indices of the 'dialectical'–ness of Adorno's immanent critique. We might say that these 'antithetical' meanings––'constellation' as unconscious ideological synthesis versus 'constellation' as consciousness–raising estrangement; 'constellation' as object of critique, or as subject of it––are themselves a kind of constellation implying or encoding, concealing or de–familiarizing a narrative, that of the classic Enlightenment project summarized by Freud in the formula, 'making the unconscious conscious.' Adorno may 'repeat' an over–familiar constellation and then reliquify (or, Medusa–like, petrify) its 'congelations'; or he may present an unfamiliar and even shocking juxtaposition, whose estrangement is to provoke a new and heightened consciousness of the ideological condition in which we are entrapped. The historical image that results, ideological and critical all at once, appropriates the critical force we saw Adorno ascribing to the Benjaminian dialectical image, turning it, immanently, to estranging or defamiliarizing, sc. critical or (Hegel) 'negative' purposes."

(Steven Helmling, 2003)

Steven Helmling (2003). "Constellation and Critique: Adorno's Constellation, Benjamin's Dialectical Image", Postmodern Culture, Volume 14, Number 1, September 2003 | 10.1353/pmc.2003.0030


antithetical • avant-garde • avant-gardists • Benjaminian • Bertolt Brecht • Brechtian V-effect • concealing • congelations • consciousconsciousness • consciousness-raising estrangement • constellations • critical force • critical models • critique • de-familiarising • defamiliarising • dialectical • dialectical image • encodingEnlightenment project • estrangement • estranging • familiarisations • Georg Hegelgestalt • gestalts • historical image • historically given • ideological arrays • ideological condition • juxtaposition • making the unconscious • Medusanarrative • object of critique • Sigmund Freud • subject of critique • Theodor Adorno • unconscious ideological synthesis • Walter Benjamin


Simon Perkins
26 NOVEMBER 2009

Intellectual Discourse and the Politics of Modernization: Negotiating Modernity in Iran

"Jurgen Habermas's theory of modernity also attempts a rejuvenation of modernity. For Habermas, the 'crisis of modernity' is not indicative of the final collapse of the Enlightenment project, but instead reveals the deficiencies of what has heretofore been a one–sided and inadequate modernity. Thus, modernity is an 'incomplete' project, and the question of modernization becomes central to completing modernity.(18) Habermas argues that our contemporary experience of modernity has been unduly dominated by a single type of rationality, specifically by purposive or instrumental rationality.(19) The discontents of modernity, then, are not rooted in rationalization or modernization as such, but 'in the failure to develop and institutionalize all the different dimensions of reason in a balanced way.'(20) This (re)opening of modernity to different means of rationalizing the life world has led John Tomilson to suggest that Habermas's vision denies an inevitable path of modernization, that '. . . the sort of modernity that the West has developed and passed on to the 'developing world' is not the only possible historical route out of the chains of tradition.' (21) However, Habermas makes this opening while retaining a commitment to the Enlightenment project of universal modernity. His modernization of modernity would re–route towards a model of communicative action, and a more open rationality of ideal speech acts. Thus, modernization becomes an intellectual/rational project working towards an ideal speech situation."

(Ali Mirsepassi, 2000. Cambridge University Press)


2000Anthony Giddenscrisis of modernityEnlightenment projectEuropean Enlightenment • Habermas • institutionalisationinstrumental rationalityIran • John Tomilson • Jurgen Habermas • Marshall Berman • modernisationmodernity • modernization • Occidentalism • Occidentalist discontent • orientalism • Persia • rationalisationrationalityreflexive modernisationtraditionuniversal modernityWestern


Simon Perkins

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