Institute for Social Research

Institute for Social Research

Overview
The Institute for Social Research
Social research
Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists. Social research methods may be divided into two broad categories:* Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases to create valid and reliable...

(German: Institut für Sozialforschung) is a research organization for sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and continental philosophy
Continental philosophy
Continental philosophy, in contemporary usage, refers to a set of traditions of 19th and 20th century philosophy from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and...

, best known as the institutional home of the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 and critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

.

The Institute was founded in Frankfurt am Main in 1923, where it was (and once again is) affiliated with the University of Frankfurt am Main. It was founded by Felix Weil
Felix Weil
Felix Weil was a Marxist and the original financial provider for the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany....

, a student of the Marxian philosopher Karl Korsch
Karl Korsch
-Biography:Korsch was born in Tostedt, near Hamburg, to Carl August Korsch, a secretary at the cantonal court and his wife Therese. In 1898 the family moved to Meiningen, Thuringia and Korsch senior attained the position of a managing clerk in a bank...

, with an endowment provided by Weil's wealthy father.
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Encyclopedia
The Institute for Social Research
Social research
Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists. Social research methods may be divided into two broad categories:* Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases to create valid and reliable...

(German: Institut für Sozialforschung) is a research organization for sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and continental philosophy
Continental philosophy
Continental philosophy, in contemporary usage, refers to a set of traditions of 19th and 20th century philosophy from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and...

, best known as the institutional home of the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 and critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

.

The Institute was founded in Frankfurt am Main in 1923, where it was (and once again is) affiliated with the University of Frankfurt am Main. It was founded by Felix Weil
Felix Weil
Felix Weil was a Marxist and the original financial provider for the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany....

, a student of the Marxian philosopher Karl Korsch
Karl Korsch
-Biography:Korsch was born in Tostedt, near Hamburg, to Carl August Korsch, a secretary at the cantonal court and his wife Therese. In 1898 the family moved to Meiningen, Thuringia and Korsch senior attained the position of a managing clerk in a bank...

, with an endowment provided by Weil's wealthy father. Its first director, Kurt Albert Gerlach
Kurt Albert Gerlach
- Life :Gerlach was the son of a German factory owner. He had studied at the university of Kiel under Ferdinand Tönnies and received his doctorate in 1911 with a work on the role of Denmark in global economy. He then studied at the University of Leipzig. In 1911 and 1912 he went to England and...

, died before making his mark, and was swiftly followed by Carl Grünberg
Carl Grünberg
Carl Grünberg was the first director of the Institute for Social Research. He established and edited a journal of labour and socialist history today known as Grünbergs Archiv . He retired in 1929 and left the Institute to Max Horkheimer....

, a Marxist historian who gathered together fellow "orthodox" Marxists at the Institute, including his former pupil Henryk Grossman
Henryk Grossman
Henryk Grossmanalternative spelling: Henryk Grossmann , was a Polish-German economist and historian of Jewish descent....

. Grünberg was followed by co-founder Friedrich Pollock
Friedrich Pollock
Friedrich Pollock was a German social scientist and philosopher. He was one of the founders of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main, and a member of the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxist theory.- Life :...

.

Following a non-fatal heart attack, Grünberg was succeeded in 1930 by Max Horkheimer
Max Horkheimer
Max Horkheimer was a German-Jewish philosopher-sociologist, famous for his work in critical theory as a member of the 'Frankfurt School' of social research. His most important works include The Eclipse of Reason and, in collaboration with Theodor Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment...

. Horkheimer rapidly became the guiding spirit of the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

, a group of thinkers that was born under his directorship at the Institut. Horkheimer edited the group's journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (Journal for Social Research) and wrote essays defining a critical theory of society.

The growing influence of the Nazis led the founders to decide in September 1930 to prepare to move the Institute out of Germany, by establishing a branch in Geneva and moving the funds to the Netherlands. In 1933, after the rise of Hitler, the Institute left Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 for Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 and then in 1934 moved to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. In New York it became affiliated with Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, and its journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung was renamed Studies in Philosophy and Social Science. It was there that much of the important work of the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 thinkers began to emerge, and the Institute's residence in New York was likely partly accountable for its work's favorable reception in American and English academia
Academia
Academia is the community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.-Etymology:The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece. Outside the city walls of Athens, the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning...

.

The Institute re-opened in Frankfurt in 1951 under the direction of Pollock.

The Institute has been both a research enterprise and, during its Frankfurt periods, a provider of instruction in sociology at the university there. The current director is Axel Honneth
Axel Honneth
Axel Honneth is a professor of philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, Germany and director of the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.-Biography:...

.


See also

  • Critical theory
    Critical theory
    Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

  • Frankfurt School
    Frankfurt School
    The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

  • Institute for Social Research (ISR), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, which has no affiliation with the German Institute for Social Research. The University of Michigan's ISR is one of the largest and oldest academic survey and social research organizations in the world and is dedicated to social science in the public interest. For more information see (http://www.isr.umich.edu/home)

External links