Get access

The Frankfurt School and Chinese Marxist Philosophical Reflections Since the 1980s


  • Liu Kang

    Corresponding author
    1. Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China
    2. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
    • LIU KANG, Chair Professor and Dean, Institute of Arts and Humanities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Professor, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University. Specialties: Marxism, media and cultural studies. E-mail:

    Search for more papers by this author


Since 1980s, the Frankfurt School's critique of Culture Industry has provided powerful ammunitions for Chinese intellectuals to reject rising consumer popular culture. In recent years, Chinese academics began to study the Frankfurt School's critique of capitalist modernity from more theoretical perspectives, attempting to set Chinese problems of modernity and its legitimacy against the Frankfurt School's theorization. However, Chinese intellectuals’ diverse responses to the Frankfurt School have largely remained at the level of academic inquiries rather than seriously engaging in practically seeking alternatives. This study will consider issues of critique of and alternatives to capitalist modernity that modern Marxists or post-Marxists, be they Frankfurt School philosophers, the Chinese Marxists or the latter-day Chinese “new left,” all wish to seek out.