Adorno’s radio phenomenology – Technical reproduction, physiognomy and music


Adorno’s phenomenological study of radio offers a sociology of music in a political and cultural context. Situating that phenomenology in the context of Adorno’s philosophical background and the world political circumstances of Adorno’s collaboration with Paul Lazarsfeld on the Princeton Radio Project, illuminates both Adorno’s Current of Music and the Dialectic of Enlightenment with Max Horkheimer and the ‘Culture Industry’. Together with an analysis of popular music in social practice/culture, this article also explores Adorno’s spatial reflections on Paul Bekker’s notion of the community-building power of the symphony, including his reflection on the radio face which he elaborated in terms of both time and the physiognomics of the time-space of sound, private and communal, and adds connections with today’s Internet and related media.



Babette Babichਪ*’
Fordham University, NY, USA
Babette Babich, Fordham University, 113 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023, USA. Email:

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