Critical Theory of Culture

Kritična teorija kulture

Course credits:

5.00 ECTS / 60 (30 hours of lectures, 30 hours of exercises, 0 hours of seminars, 0 hours other forms of work)

Course holder:

izr. prof. ddr. Aljoša Pužar


  • Tch. Asst. Primož Mlačnik
  • Tch. Asst. Maruška Nardoni






First semester

Study degree

1. level

    Course execution:

  • Undergraduate Programme of Analitical Sociology

Objectives and competences

The primary purpose of this course is to present and analyze the Frankfurt School’s critical theory of society, which understood conflict between different forms and notions of culture as a key for understanding human experience. Objective of the course is to acquaint students with this topic and prepare them for meaningful use of the presented concepts and methods.

Content (Syllabus outline)

Frankfurt critical theory of society (Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse) has, in the tradition of Western Marxism and romantic anti-capitalism, focused attention on the analysis both emancipative and repressive potentials of culture. They preferred works of art which has been in pre-modern social formation characterized by "aura" with its cult function. This was lost with the advent of modern means of technological reproduction (press, photography, film, internet) which required the use of procedures that have exploited the fragmentation of experience, i. e. installation and collage. From such artistic innovations of modernism born techniques became, in times of the development of mass communication after World War II, an integral part of the collective life worlds in the multicultural capitalism. Here elite and mass forms of cultural practices act in the context of commodity fetishism. Supposedly eliminated auratic feature of artworks that returns to the commodified cult in musical, entertainer and pop stars as a revenge, is analyzed including the iconography of Hollywood celebrity system and authors like trademarks. As every period needs that tradition is ripped from conformism (Benjamin), our analysis does not deny utopian impulses of the Frankfurt School, but reflects them in the light of contemporary possibilities to maintain emancipating "no-identity".

Intended learning outcomes:

Students will get familiar with the Frankfurt School’s critical theory of society which understood conflict between the different forms and notions of culture as a key to understanding human experience.

Learning and teaching methods:

Lectures, seminars, essays.


Written/oral exam (40%) Examination Paper (60%).

Obligatory literature

1. Unit of obligatory literature:

Author: Horkheimer, Max; Adorno, Theodor W.
Title: Dialektika razsvetljenstva : filozofski fragmenti »
Edition: Slovenska izd., ponatis
Publishing: Ljubljana : Studia humanitatis, 2006, cop. 2002
ISBN: 978-961-6262-39-2
COBISS.SI-ID: 26511197 - Record/s in the catalog ODKJG »

2. Unit of obligatory literature:

Author: Debeljak, Alešet al. (ur.)
Title: Cooltura : uvod v kulturne študije »
Publishing: Ljubljana : Študentska založba, 2002
ISBN: 961-6356-73-9
COBISS.SI-ID: 115856640 - Record/s in the catalog ODKJG »
All obligatory literature in catalog ODKJG »

Additional literature

1. Unit of additional literature:

Author: Benjamin, Walter
Title: Izbrani spisi »
Publishing: Ljubljana : SH - Zavod za založniško dejavnost, 1998
ISBN: 961-6262-10-6
COBISS.SI-ID: 78350336 - Record/s in the catalog ODKJG »

2. Unit of additional literature:

Author: Kreft, Lev
Title: Umetniško delo v obdobju hegemonije blagovne forme »
Publishing: V: Filozofski vestnik. - Letn. 24, št. 3(2003), str. 35-51
COBISS.SI-ID: 21728557 - Record/s in the catalog ODKJG »

3. Unit of additional literature:

Author: Huyssen, Andreas
Title: Twilight memories : marking time in a culture of amnesia »
Publishing: New York ; London : Routledge, 1995
ISBN: 0-415-90934-1; 0-415-90935-X
COBISS.SI-ID: 26276189 - Record/s in the catalog ODKJG »
Notes: Dostop za FDV za tri hkratne uporabnike. Dostop tudi v Zebri
All additional literature in catalog ODKJG »

Hot to aquire credits:

For full and part study

  1. Short seminar paper or short assignments - 1.
    Written exam, oral exam, written/oral exam or 2 midterm exams
    Lectures, seminars and individual consultations

Curriculum was last modified on: 04.06.2020