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Adorno on Community

A brilliant observation by Theodor Adorno, German social critic, specifically on folk music, but also an important reminder that we must always think realistically and critically about the relationships and dynamics that structure the social order (brought to my attention by Ric Brown, UFCT grievance team member).

“There is, above all, the display of an aggressive spirit of community as an end in itself, played up artificially so as not to allow any questioning of its real meaning.  The idea of collectivity is made a fetish, glorified as such, and only loosely connected with real social contents which may easily be changed with every turn of /Realpolitik/.  This last element is perhaps the most important one.  It bears witness to the calculated, synthetic nature of this supposed folk music.  The more it pretends to be the expression of “we the people,” the more certain we may be that it is actually dictated by very particularistic clique interests, intolerant, aggressive and greedy for power.” Adorno “National Socialism and the Arts” (1944-45)


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