Monday, April 30, 2012

Adorno on "immanent analysis" and Empirical Research

"...immanent analysis:  analysis, that is, of the internal consistency or inconsistency of the opinion itself, and of its relationship to its object, not the abstract opposition of the opinion to something postulated as objectively valid.  It is not a question of dismissing the opinion with a Platonic disdain, but of deducing its untruth from the truth -- the social structure that undergirds it -- and finally from the untruth inherent in the latter.  On the other hand, the cross-section of attitudes represents, not an approximation of the truth, but a cross section of social illusion.  Participating in this is that ens realissimum [lit. “the most real being”] of unreflecting social research -- the respondents, the subjects.  Their own being, their existence as subjects, depends on the objectivity, the mechanisms that they obey and which constitute the conceptual framework in which they are to be situated.  This latter, however, can only be determined by discovering in the facts themselves the tendency that points beyond them.  That is the function of philosophy in empirical social research.  If it fails to fulfill it or allows it to be suppressed, so that mere facts are reproduced, such a reproduction immediately falsifies the facts and creates out of them an ideology."

Theodor Adorno
Sociology and Empirical Research (1957)