This essay addresses the emergence of theories of identity in twentieth-century politics, aesthetics, and philosophy by considering Theodor Adorno's understanding of negative identity as a form of coercive categorization that nevertheless contains social knowledge. A historical account of the Frankfurt school's relation to questions of race, anti-Semitism, and the idea of culture, the essay analyzes Adorno's infamous jazz articles in light of the transatlantic history of Marxian political theory and its understanding of racism, subject-object relations, and models of cultural production. The result is an investigation of the history of the concept of identity, its emergence alongside the rise of cultural studies, and its relation to international cultural-aesthetic formations such as jazz. The article concludes with an examination of Adorno's critique of idealism, cultural identity, and nationalism in light of the wounded political subjectivity of the modern era.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science