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date: 26 October 2021

p. 908. The great refusallocked

p. 908. The great refusallocked

  • Stephen Eric Bronner


‘The great refusal’ outlines the resurgence in critical theory in young intellectuals during the 1970s. Activists in the 1960s saw critical theory in Marxist terms, but the outlook of the working class had become compromised, and revolutionary consciousness could only come from outside that group. The young rebels of the seventies did not embody the utopian sensibility critical theorists spoke of, but they did evince a deep appreciation of subjectivity. The Frankfurt School was always suspicious of organized politics. Young people had lessons to learn from totalitarian movements with their propaganda apparatus and their contempt for the individual. Affirming individuality was the best response to the totally administered society.

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