The essay argues that utopian thinking plays a central role in Theodor W. Adorno's social critique. To make the case, Chrostowska draws on Adorno's critical engagements with Walter Benjamin, Thorstein Veblen, Oswald Spengler, and Aldous Huxley. Adorno offers two utopian visions: the first a “chronotope” in which the possibility of change is revived, an indeterminate time and place for action; the second an image of utopia achieved, from which all human cares have disappeared. Chrostowska suggests that these two visions, which one would expect to be teleologically linked, cannot exist on one experiential continuum. The difficulty, perhaps impossibility, of bringing them together is a particularly revealing index of the practical deficit in Adorno's thinking.

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