With a groundbreaking, interdisciplinary approach to German political and social theory, Confronting Mass Democracy and Industrial Technology
provides fresh insight into the thought of many of the most influential intellectual figures of the twentieth century. Its essays detail the manner in which a wide range of German intellectuals grappled with the ramifications and implications of democracy, technology, knowledge, and control from the late Kaisserreich to the Weimar Republic, from the Third Reich and the Federal Republic through recently unified Germany.
Scholars representing the fields of political science, philosophy, history, law, literature, and cultural studies devote essays to the work of Nietzsche, Weber, Heidegger, Lukács, Schmitt, Marcuse, Adorno, and Habermas. They also discuss the writings of such figures as Brecht and Freud, who are not primarily thought of as political theorists, and explore the thought of Helmut Plessner and reformist theorists from East Germany who have been little studied in the English language. In the process of debating the nature and responsibilities of the modern state in an era of mass politics, unparalleled military technology, capacity for surveillance, and global media presence, the contributors question whether technology is best understood as an instrument of human design and collective control or as an autonomous entity that not only has a will and life of its own but one that forms the very fabric of modern humanity.
Contributors. Seyla Benhabib, Richard J. Bernstein, Peter C. Caldwell, Richard Dienst, David Dyzenhaus, Andrew Feenberg, Nancy S. Love, John P. McCormick, Jan-Werner Müller, Gia Pascarelli, William E. Scheuerman, Steven B. Smith, Tracy B. Strong, Richard Wolin