The Frankfurt School is a group of critical theorists who joined the Institut für Sozialforschung (Institute of Social Research) of the University of Frankfurt am Main (Germany) from 1923 to 1933. Felix Weil, an orthodox Marxist, founded the Institute in 1923 with the aim of planning, organizing, conducting, and evaluating social, historical, and cross-disciplinary research. For political reasons, the institute was relocated in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1933 to 1935, then in New York (1935–1949), and finally back in Frankfurt (from 1949 to present).

In the 1920s and 1930s the Frankfurt School theorists dealt with Marxist analyses of social and economic processes and examined the role of the individual and the group in relation to these processes. Many of the thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School directed their studies toward particular aspects of communication, seeing various links between the historical, social, and economic processes they investigated and communication— among them Max Horkheimer, Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Leo Löwenthal, and Jürgen Habermas. The most important concepts for the field of communication theory are Horkheimer and Adorno’s ideas on the culture industry and mass media and Habermas’s notions of the public sphere and communicative action.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.478

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