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1. Which three scholars made the most decisive impact on the central ideas of the Frankfurt School thinkers?
a. Marx, Weber, Durkheim
b. Marx, Simmel, Gilman
*c. Marx, Weber, Freud
d. Marx, Du Bois, Mead
2. Critical theorists differed from orthodox Marxism when they
a. elaborated extensively on the distinction between base and superstructure.
b. rooted the evolutionary potential of society solely in the hands of the bourgeoisie.
*c. abandoned analyses of economic conditions and no longer cast the proletariat as
d. collaborated in the creation of historical materialism during their time in the U.S.
3. According to the critical theorists, individuals in modern industrial societies have lost their ability to negate. This means that
*a. individual freedom has been lost and replaced by an unquestioned adherence to instrumental and technologically driven forms of thought.
b. critical discussion of pressing societal issues is openly discussed in the public sphere.
c. individuals resort to the use of their leisure time to protest the conditions of their existence.
d. Individual freedom has been strengthened while being replaced by technology
4. The critical theorists believed this was responsible for the oppression of humanity.
a. Exploitation that is inherent in capitalism.
*b. Forms of thought were responsible, particularly totalitarianism of reason and rationality.
c. Economic power accumulated by the bourgeoisie was responsible.
d. Inability of the proletariat to drive an economic revolution.
5. For the critical theorists, the source of distorted consciousness can be found in the
a. non-economics of economics
b. non-family of family
c. irresponsibility of responsibility
*d. irrationality of rationality
6. According to Adorno and Marcuse, the locus of individual freedom lies in
a. the development of new aesthetic fashions.
*b. negative thinking
c. protesting the unequal distribution of material resources
d. boycotting industries in order to better demand the production of goods that meet consumers needs.
7. Horkheimers term subjective reason most closely aligns with Max Webers notion of
a. substantive rationality
*c. formal rationality
d. protestant ethic
8. Which of Marcuses concepts allows for negating all that is established in order to critically understand ones world, develop personal objectives, and achieve them through rational methods?
a. formal rationality
b. substantive rationality
*c. individualistic rationality
d. technological rationality
9. The system comprises a societys political and economic structures that are
responsible for the organization of power relations and the production and distribution of material resources, according to
10. Which concept endows cultural mass production with the halo of free choice of open market on the basis of standardization itself?
b. individualistic rationality
c. subjective reason
d. substantive rationality
11. Marcuses concept of surplus repression is linked to __________ concept of the reality principle.
a. Emile Durkheims
b. Karl Marxs
*c. Sigmund Freuds
d. C. Wright Millss
12. What is Marcuse stating with his concept of repressive desublimation?
*a. Sexuality is managed by a controlled liberalization which increases satisfaction with the offerings of society.
b. Sexuality has been set free by a society too focused upon mass media depictions.
c. Sexuality is controlled officially through laws but is free within peoples thoughts.
d. Sexuality is freed inversely to the amount of regulation placed upon it.
13. Although critical theorists possess a multi-dimensionality to the issues of action and order, the authors consider their work to be primarily
14. In Eclipse of Reason by Horkheimer, _________ has been reduced to the purpose of a useful tool in the control of nature.
15. In Horkheimers notion of the modern world, what is missing from individuals?
*a. individuality, alternative truths, critique
b. rationality, reason, totalities
c. technology, alternative truths, reason
d. individuality, technology, rationality
16. Adorno believes one of the true purposes of culture is to
a. objectify the customer.
*b. render the impossible possible.
c. suppress disruptive alternatives.
d. strengthen the established authority.
17. Adorno argues that the culture industry is destructive because of all the following, except that
a. it pacifies consumers.
*b. in offering so many options it confuses consumers as to what exactly to buy.
c. it offers pre-packaged, mass-produced
d. it offers false ideas
18. Marcuse argues that modern mechanization and technology
a. have created an era of abundance so that modern individuals are able to engage in self-fulfilling leisure pursuits
*b. have dissolved the link between individual labor and property and thus have erased individuality and creativity.
c. have produced the unintended consequences of increasing levels of individual freedom and social democracy.
d. have presented individuality and creativity as an option in labor
19. According to Marcuse modern societies are characterized by one-dimensional thought in which
*a. ideas, aspirations, and objectives that transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this universe.
b. individuals are free to choice which dimension is most appropriate to their personal thoughtpatterns.
c. repressive desublimation enables individuals to express their instinctual desires.
d. ideas, aspirations and objectives are actions that repel the universe.
20. As societies evolve, both the state and the economy develop their own formal structure and mechanisms for self-organization. Habermas calls these organizational mechanisms steering media and argues that two primary forms emerge
*a. power and money
b. status and power
c. money and status
d. status and evolution
21. Progress is not a neutral term; it moves toward specific ends, and these ends are defined by the possibilities of ameliorating the human condition. ______________is approaching the stage where continued progress would demand the radical subversion of the prevailing direction and organization of progress.
a. Social beinghood
*b. Advanced industrial society
d. Eastern thought
22. We may distinguish both true and false needs. _______are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice.
23. Who coined the term standpoint epistemology?
24. Habermas served as _________ assistant from 1956 to 1959 at the Institute for Social Research, which by then had relocated to Frankfurt, Germany.
25. Collins maps differences in penalty and privilege that accompany, all listed except
d. social injustice
26. The critical theorists framework extends but does not depart from central Marxist ideas.
27. The critical theorists failed to provide a specific account of the mechanisms for social change.
28. Objective reason allows us to determine the most efficient way of achieving our goals.
29. The critical theorists believed there are no timeless empirical truths subject to scientific discovery and proof.
30. Habermas defines communicative action as the process in which individuals come to mutual understanding and consensus through closed, coercive debate and discussion freed from the corrosive effects of money, power, and manipulation.
31. As societies evolve, both the state and the economy develop their own formal structure and mechanisms for self-organization, according to Habermas.
32. Repressive desublimation is produced from the conflict between sexuality and society.
33. Horkheimers description of the modern world defines usefulness on technological grounds.
34. Once culture is a product of the machine it is capable of negating the oppressive conformity.
35. Collins uses the term matrix of domination to underscore that ones position in society is made up of multiple contiguous standpoints rather than just one essentialist standpoint.
36. The new technological work-world does not enforce a weakening of the negative position of the working class.
37. Collins coined the term standpoint epistemology.
38. Collins maps differences in penalty and privilege that accompany race, class, gender and similar systems of social injustice.
39. Explain how Weber is connected to Horkheimers distinction between subjective and objective reason.
*a. For Weber, it is the bureaucratic form of rationality that is most responsible for creating an oppressive, overly routinized, and depersonalized society. This theme has formed the core of critical theory. Horkheimer drew a distinction between subjective reason and objective reason. Parallel to Webers notion of formal or instrumental rationality, subjective reason is essentially concerned with means and ends, with the adequacy of procedures for purposes more or less taken for granted and supposedly self-explanatory. It attaches little importance to the question whether the purposes as such are reasonable (Horkheimer 1947:3).
40. Explain the parallels between Horkheimers conceptions of reason with Marcuses conceptions of rationality.
*a. Marcuse (1941) emphasized the distinction between individualistic rationality and technological rationality. Analogous to Horkheimers notion of objective reason, he defined individualistic rationality as a critical and oppositional attitude that derived freedom of action from the unrestricted liberty of thought and conscience and measured all social standards and relations by the individuals rational self-interest (1941:433).
41. Briefly define the culture industry and how pseudo-individualization plays into it.
*a. The culture industry encompasses all those sectors involved in the creation and distribution of mass-culture products: television, film, radio, music, magazines, newspapers, books, and the advertisements that sell them. Geared toward entertaining and pacifying the masses, the culture industry administers mass deception by churning out a never-ending supply of mass-produced, standardized commodities that aborts and silences criticism. Tied directly to the standardization of products is the pseudo-individualization that endows cultural mass production with the halo of free choice or open market on the basis of standardization itself (Adorno 1941:25). Here is the parade of progress, the world of the new and improved that masks an eternal sameness.
42. Explain briefly how C. Wright Millss work is comparable to the critical theorist tradition.
*a. In America, the sociologist who most took up the charge of the critical theorists was C. Wright Mills. Committed to a vision of a more just and moral society, he was throughout his career a relentless critic of the self-congratulatory hypocrisy that in his view pervaded American culture. In White Collar (1951), Mills turns his attention to the plight of the American middle classes who, owing to their status panic, are unable to realize a meaningful existence. Not one to avoid controversy, Mills turned his critical outlook on onto his own peers. His classic introduction to sociology, The Sociological Imagination (1959), not only offers the definitive statement on the task of the discipline; it also reproaches those who are charged with carrying it out.
43. Explain the following quotation: the culture industry endlessly cheats its consumers out of what it endlessly promises
*a. None of the offerings of the culture industry actually fulfills its promise. In fact, they are not designed to, and although we know this, we are unable to envision an alternative. And this, above all else, marks the power that the culture industry possesses. The essential lesson is that individuals are not to be treated as autonomous, freethinking persons. Rather, in the pursuit of efficient profit-making, individuals themselves are to be created in order to fit into a standardized model that mirrors the standardized products being sold to them.
44. Connect Freud to Marcuses idea of surplus repression.
*a. A question arising from Freuds analysis is whether the conflict between the pleasure principle and the reality principle must inevitably lead to the repression of instinctual pleasure and thus the misery of humankind. These additional controls represent. The surplus repression represents the portion of repression which is the result of specific societal conditions sustained in the specific interest of domination and that unnecessarily impedes the gratification of instinctual desires (ibid.:88). In other words, although the reality principle is intrinsically opposed to the pleasure principle, the specific form that it takes is determined by the prevailing method of social dominationthe existing system of social institutions, norms, and values that guides the necessary control of the instincts.
45. Explain in your own words Marcuses concept of repressive desublimation.
*a. The conflict between sexuality (a central source of the pleasure principle) and society (the source of the reality principle) has produced a state of repressive desublimation or institutionalized desublimation as it is managed by a controlled liberalization which increases satisfaction with the offerings of society (Marcuse 1970:57). As Marcuse noted: [T]o the degree to which sexuality is sanctioned and even encouraged by society (not officially, of course, but by the mores and behavior considered as regular), it loses the quality which, according to Freud, is its essentially erotic quality, that of freedom from social control. In this sphere was the surreptitious freedom, the dangerous autonomy of the individual under the pleasure principle. . . . Now, with the integration of this sphere into the realm of business and entertainment, the repression itself is repressed: society has enlarged not individual freedom, but its control over the individual. (ibid.)
46. Discuss why the authors feel critical theorists primary theoretical orientation is collectivist and rationalist.
*a. Despite the multidimensionality of their conceptual tool-kit, we consider the critical theorists primarily collectivist and rationalist in their theoretical orientation. This view is based on a distinction between the critical theorists view of the world as it should be and how it actually is. Undoubtedly, the critical theorists yearn for the creation of a society in which social order is maintained according to dictates of individuals true needs and desires, where society allows for the realization of goals and aspirations that are determined by the individuals own consciousness and autonomous capacity for reason. But the progress of civilization has not unfolded under such an individualistic dynamic. Instead, repressive, dehumanizing collectivist forces (the culture industry, technology, modes of economic production) have undermined the ability for individuals to develop a society free from domination. Although such forces are the products of human creativity, they have become reified or seemingly immutable. As such, they now confront their creators as alien, abstract powers that operate according to their own logic.
47. Where do the notions of truth, critique, and individuality come into play within Horkheimers Eclipse of Reason?
*a. Horkheimer argues that modern society is a totality that subjects all to its dehumanizing effects; worker and businessman alike are unable to escape the decline of individuality. This decline is most apparent in the modern form of consciousness that is unwilling and unable to image alternative truths. This is a world in which usefulness is defined on technological grounds. Thinking in itself is useless or superfluous. Truth is found in productivity not critique. It is not technology or productivity in itself that makes for the decline of the individual, but loss of the ability to critically define humane principles according to which real progress must unfold.
48. Discuss what effects the culture industry has on notions of choice, freedom, and individual identity according to Adorno.
*a. While the culture industry claims to be a producer of choice, freedom, and individual identity, it instead provides its customers with a totalitarian, conformist social landscape. It thus cheats its consumers out of the same happiness which it deceitfully projects (ibid.:106). So while we are repeatedly instructed to Just Do It, what it is is never truthfully revealed: BUY.
49. Explain the following quotation: The new technological work-world enforces a weakening of the negative position of the working class.
*a. The new technological work-world thus enforces a weakening of the negative position of the working class: the latter no longer appears to be the living contradiction to the established society that we know today as the it has become a trend strengthened by the effect of the technological organization of production on the other side of the fence: on management and direction. Domination is transfigured into administration. The capitalist bosses and
owners are losing their identity as responsible agents; they are assuming the function of bureaucrats in a corporate machine. Within the vast hierarchy of executive and managerial boards extending far beyond the individual establishment into the scientific laboratory and research institute, the national government and national purpose, the tangible source of exploitation disappears behind the faade of objective rationality. ibid
50. Consider the following statement and develop a critique, where you take a position and develop and argument that supports or refutes its application in modern day: As the productive establishments rely on the military for self-preservation and growth, the military relies on the corporations not only for their weapons, but also for knowledge of what kind of weapons they need, how much they will cost, and how long it will take to get them.
*a. According to critical theorists, power is not had or occurring in a vacuum but has instead developed many avenues and hiding places. The world that we know today including its geographic boundaries has changed through wars. Although the types of wars fought today are different than those of yesterday, the natural resources and geographical boundaries remain at stake because there is some bounty to be had. As these bounties change hands so do the arguments and intended consequences behind each exchange. Besides stories changing, realities are on a continuum where those with power take and those without provide.
51. How does the fact that Habermas served as Adornos assistant from 1956 to 1959 at the Institute for Social Research, which by then had relocated to Frankfurt, Germany affect Habermas theoretical canon?
*a. Despite his interests in critical theory, Habermass intellectual position began to stray from key arguments discerned by Adorno. The discontent was everlasting and became even more disconnected from earlier theorists rejection of the public sphere of debate as a possible arena for democratic, progressive change and their despairing view of modern society more generally. This led him to look elsewhere to complete his studies. However, the fact that he left that second academic setting, also due to disconnects between colleagues and his own views, may be an indication that Habermas was just disillusioned in general with others works and perspectives on critical thought.
52. Define and explain Marxs conception of historical materialism. Discuss how the critical theorists used this idea when formulating their own concepts. Be sure to include Hegel and Lukcs in your discussion.
*a. According to Marxs theoretical system, historical materialism, the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles (1848/1978:473). In other words, the dynamics of historical changes are rooted in opposing class interests that are themselves a product of the distribution of private property. Marx argued that the mode of economic production forms the base of society which, in turn, determines a societys social, political, and intellectual life processes in general (Marx 1859/1978:4). Marx also maintained, the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas (1846/1978:172). How can the working class develop a revolutionary consciousness when a societys prevailing or dominant ideas serve to legitimate the very system that they are allegedly destined to overthrow? Later Marxists noted that changing economic circumstances alone are incapable of mechanically transforming the consciousness of the working class. Horkheimer and his colleagues looked elsewhere for the sources of emancipation, and, not surprisingly, they found them in critical theory. This signaled a major shift from orthodox Marxism, as the critical theorists abandoned analyses of economic conditions and no longer cast the working class in the role of savior of humanity. Lukcss groundbreaking book History and Class Consciousness (1923) played a pivotal role in the critical theorists reevaluation of Karl Marxs concept of class consciousness and ideology. The critical theorists turned away from Marxs doctrine of historical materialism to Hegelian idealism to better focus their analysis of culture and ideology, for it was not economic arrangements that were primarily responsible for the barbarism of humanity but ideas and the irrationality of reason.
53. Providing specific support from the readings, explain the strengths and weaknesses you perceive across the body of the critical theorists work. Attempt to include examples from all three of the theorists read.
*a. Horkheimer and his associates would fail to offer a specific account of the mechanisms for social change and who, precisely, the agents of such change would be. Exactly how the critical theorist was to enlighten the class in whose service he thinks was a question that remained unanswered. The closest Horkheimer gets is asserting that the task of the critical theorist is to reduce the tension between his own insight and oppressed humanity in whose service he thinks (Horkheimer 1972:221) or claiming that truth becomes clearly evident in the person of the theoretician (ibid.:216), This neglect would in turn heighten the sense of pessimism that pervaded the critical theorists political outlook. This pessimism stemmed more directly from what they saw as the changing nature of domination. It was not the exploitation inherent in capitalism that was responsible for the oppression of humanity but rather forms of thought, and in particular, the totalitarianism of reason and rationality. Students will select specific passages from the readings they feel best exhibit a weakness they perceive in this perspective.
54. Working within the critical theorists understanding of the subordination, discuss what Collins means by the term matrix of domination.
*a. Although changes have occurred in the country and in the world that may indicate that Collins writings are no longer needed because race is no longer a single standing factor. What Collins pins is the need to examined all points of contact and nut simply a hierarchy as generally perceived having a top and bottom or ruling class and then subordinates. She discusses the variance of relationships individuals can have with each other how the dominance can come from within the same group. This strays from the common understandings of racial positions as it does not allow for just one point of dominance but points to the many that result from the simplest or most subtle shifts in power.
55. Explain the following quotation from Horkheimer: the very idea of truth has been reduced to the purpose of a useful tool in the control of nature, and the realization of the infinite potentialities inherent in man has been relegated to the status of a luxury. Connect this notion to your own personal experiences especially as related to your time at college.
*a. Students should place the quote within its context covering most of the following ideas: Horkheimer argues that modern society is a totality that subjects all to its dehumanizing effects; worker and businessman alike are unable to escape the decline of individuality. This decline is most apparent in the modern form of consciousness that is unwilling and unable to image alternative truths. Indeed, the very idea of truth has been reduced to the purpose of a useful tool in the control of nature, and the realization of the infinite potentialities inherent in man has been relegated to the status of a luxury. Thought that does not serve the interests of any established group or is not pertinent to the business of any industry has no place, is considered vain or superfluous (1947:142,143). This is a world in which usefulness is defined on technological grounds. Thinking in itself is useless or superfluous. Truth is found in productivity not critique. Students should then discuss these ideas in relation to their educational experience at college. Some may side with the critical theorists and believe modern college too focused on instrumentality and utility for vocational occupations that serve the existing structures interests. Other may defend the experience as one of the last few spaces containing potentiality for truth to work against the totality.
56. Explain the following passage taken from Adornos Culture Industry Reconsidered:
The power of the culture industrys ideology is such that conformity has replaced consciousness. The order that springs from it is never confronted with what it claims to be or with the real interests of human beings.
*a. Adorno discusses how the culture industry has furthered the collapse of reason. Equating culture with the high arts, Adorno describes culture as a form of protest against the petrified relations (1991:100) under which individuals live. The purpose of culture is to render the impossible possible, to offer alternatives to existing social conditions. To the extent that culture (art) is free from the profit-motive, it is able to develop according to its own internal logic and thus voice essential social critiques. In advanced societies, however, culture has become synonymous with industry and hence subject to the rule of efficient production and standardization that is its hallmark. The relationship between mass culture and the individual is one akin to that of seller and buyer. Individuals, themselves objects of production, are left to consume mass-produced, prepackaged ideas that instill an uncritical consensus that strengthens established authority. Because culture is now a product of the machine and not the imagination, it is incapable of negating the oppressive conformity by the culture industry. Culture no longer prodsit pacifies: The categorical imperative of the culture industry no longer has anything in common with freedom. While the culture industry claims to be a producer of choice, freedom, and individual identity, it instead provides its customers with a totalitarian, conformist social landscape.
57. Apply the following quote to a real life example. Remember to relate the example back to critical theory: In advanced societies, however, culture has become synonymous with industry and hence subject to the rule of efficient production and standardization that is its hallmark. The relationship between mass culture and the individual is one akin to that of seller and buyer. However, the customer is not king, as the culture industry would like to have us believe, not its subject but its object (ibid.:99).
*a. The way that branding today has developed is akin to the theoretical argument Adorno presents. Adorno argued that although individuals are the object of the culture industry, and that the subject is king; the reality is that the culture industry knows that the king will not bite. Indeed, the everyday person is more interested in purchasing a perceived reality to achieve it more so than the real person behind the subject is interested in it. Why is this the case? Maybe because the brand itself is left to the sociological imagination instead of to empower or enhance a social role. The more people buy into a social phenomenon the less special it is and the strength of that power is lost over time. Branding only works as long as people are buying and when people are not buying they are not interested because maybe they already envision themselves as possessing it or as irrelevant.
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