Wolfgang Abendroth

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Wolfgang Abendroth's grave Wolfgang-abendroth-grab-ffm001.jpg
Wolfgang Abendroth's grave

Wolfgang Abendroth (2 May 1906 – 15 September 1985) was a socialist German jurist and political scientist. He was born in Elberfeld, now a part of Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia. Abendroth was an important contributor to the constitutional foundation of postwar West Germany. He briefly held a professorship in law in East Germany. As he was opposed to Stalinism, he left for West Germany, where he was appointed professor in political science at Marburg in 1950. Abendroth also served as a senior judge in the state court of Hesse.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Jurist legal scholar or academic, a professional who studies, teaches, and develops law

A jurist is someone who researches and studies jurisprudence. Such a person can work as an academic, legal writer or law lecturer. In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and in many other Commonwealth countries, the word jurist sometimes refers to a barrister, whereas in the United States of America and Canada it often refers to a judge.

Elberfeld former city in Germany, now part of Wuppertal

Elberfeld is a municipal subdivision of the German city of Wuppertal; it was an independent town until 1929.

In the late 1950s, at the University of Marburg, Abendroth oversaw the habilitation in political science of major German philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist Jürgen Habermas. Habermas dedicated his habilitation work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, to Abendroth, in particular because Habermas valued Abendroth's role in re-founding postwar West Germany as a liberal constitutional state and in engaging in vigorous public debate in the spirit of the ideal Habermas laid out in his first major study. [1]

University of Marburg German university

The Philipps University of Marburg was founded in 1527 by Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, which makes it one of Germany's oldest universities and the oldest Protestant university in the world. It is now a public university of the state of Hesse, without religious affiliation. The University of Marburg has about 25,000 students and 7,500 employees and is located in Marburg, a town of 72,000 inhabitants, with university buildings dotted in or around the town centre. About 12% of the students are international, the highest percentage in Hesse. It offers an International summer university programme and offers student exchanges through the Erasmus programme.

Habilitation defines the qualification to conduct self-contained university teaching and is the key for access to a professorship in many European countries. Despite all changes implemented in the European higher education systems during the Bologna Process, it is the highest qualification level issued through the process of a university examination and remains a core concept of scientific careers in these countries.

Jürgen Habermas German sociologist and philosopher

Jürgen Habermas is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theories on communicative rationality and the public sphere. In 2014, Prospect readers chose Habermas as one of their favourites among the "world's leading thinkers".

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to critical theory:

Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government and business, and including the family and the private sphere. By other authors, "civil society" is used in the sense of 1) the aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens or 2) individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government.

Public sphere area in social life

The public sphere is an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action. Such a discussion is called public debate and is defined as the expression of views on matters that are of concern to the public—often, but not always, with opposing or diverging views being expressed by participants in the discussion. Public debate takes place mostly through the mass media, but also at meetings or through social media, academic publications and government policy documents. The term was originally coined by German philosopher Jürgen Habermas who defined "the public sphere as a virtual or imaginary community which does not necessarily exist in any identifiable space". Communication scholar Gerard A. Hauser defines it as "a discursive space in which individuals and groups associate to discuss matters of mutual interest and, where possible, to reach a common judgment about them". The public sphere can be seen as "a theater in modern societies in which political participation is enacted through the medium of talk" and "a realm of social life in which public opinion can be formed".

Left-wing fascism and left fascism are sociological and philosophical terms used to categorize tendencies in left-wing politics otherwise commonly attributed to the ideology of fascism. Fascism has historically been considered a far-right ideology.

Discourse ethics refers to a type of argument that attempts to establish normative or ethical truths by examining the presuppositions of discourse. Variations of this argument have been used in the establishment of egalitarian ethics, as well as libertarian ethics.

<i>Between Facts and Norms</i> book by Jürgen Habermas

Between Facts and Norms is a 1992 book on deliberative politics by the German political philosopher Jürgen Habermas. The culmination of the project that Habermas began with The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere in 1962, it represents a lifetime of political thought on the nature of democracy and law.

<i>A Berlin Republic</i> book by Jürgen Habermas

A Berlin Republic is a 1997 book composed of a collection of transcripts of interviews with the German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas conducted by various European media in the mid-1990s. The common thread of the interviews is Habermas's disagreement with resurgent German nationalism after the reunification with the former German Democratic Republic (GDR).

Hans-Jürgen Papier German judge

Hans-Jürgen Papier is a German scholar of constitutional law and was President of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany from 2002 to 2010.

Refeudalization is the process of recovering mechanisms and relationships that used to define feudalism. Because the term "feudalism" is slightly ambiguous, "refeudalization" is ambiguous, too.

<i>The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere</i> book by Jürgen Habermas

The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society is a 1962 book by the philosopher Jürgen Habermas. It was translated into English in 1989 by Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence. An important contribution to modern understanding of democracy, it is notable for "transforming media studies into a hard-headed discipline."

In sociology, communicative action is cooperative action undertaken by individuals based upon mutual deliberation and argumentation. The term was developed by German philosopher-sociologist Jürgen Habermas in his work The Theory of Communicative Action.

Michael Stürmer is a right-wing German historian arguably best known for his role in the Historikerstreit of the 1980s, for his geographical interpretation of German history and for an admiring 2008 biography of the Russian politician Vladimir Putin.

<i>The Inclusion of the Other</i> book by Jürgen Habermas

The Inclusion of the Other is 1996 book by the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas.

Constitutional patriotism

Constitutional patriotism is the idea that people should form a political attachment to the norms and values of a pluralistic liberal democratic constitution rather than a national culture or cosmopolitan society. It is associated with post-nationalist identity, because it is seen as a similar concept to nationalism, but as an attachment based on values of the constitution rather than a national culture. In essence, it is an attempt to re-conceptualise group identity with a focus on the interpretation of citizenship as a loyalty that goes beyond individuals' ethnocultural identification. Theorists believe this to be more defensible than other forms of shared commitment in a diverse modern state with multiple languages and group identities. It is particularly relevant in post-national democratic states in which multiple cultural and ethnic groups coexist. It was influential in the development of the European Union and a key to Europeanism as a basis for multiple countries belonging to a supranational union.

Critical theory philosophy that sociological understandings primarily use should be social reform

Critical theory is the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities. As a term, critical theory has two meanings with different origins and histories: the first originated in sociology and the second originated in literary criticism, whereby it is used and applied as an umbrella term that can describe a theory founded upon critique; thus, the theorist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them."

Arnold Bergstraesser was a German political scientist. Along with Wolfgang Abendroth, Theodor Eschenburg, and Eric Voegelin, he was one of the founders of political science in West Germany after World War II.

Cristina Lafont is a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University. Her current research focuses on normative questions in political philosophy concerning democracy and citizen participation, global governance, human rights, religion and politics. She works in a framework of deliberative democratic theory, where she defends a participatory construal of the democratic ideal against proposals to insulate political decision making from the influence of the citizenry. This conception requires the citizens to respect the priority of public reason over religious or otherwise comprehensive views in their political deliberations in the public sphere. At the level of global governance, she argues against the current state-centric understanding of human rights obligations because of the protection gaps it leaves open. Instead, she advocates a more ambitious construal of the responsibility to protect (R2P) human rights, which she interprets as a provisional duty of the international community as a whole until appropriate institutions are in place to close these gaps. Lafont is also widely known for her work in Critical Theory, especially for her critical elaboration of themes in the philosophy of Jürgen Habermas. Cristina Lafont’s earlier philosophical work in the philosophy of language of Heidegger’s hermeneutics issues in her identification of a specific form of “linguistic turn” in post-Kantian German philosophy between Hamann and Habermas. The upshot is that the systematic idealistic and constructivist tendency of this tradition is owed to a specific set of assumptions in its linguistic philosophy. In this work, she applies select tools from the theory of meaning developed in analytic philosophy of language to foundational issues from German Continental philosophy. This approach enables fruitful and precise comparisons between, e.g., Robert Brandom’s inferentialist framework and hermeneutics or Habermas’ theory of communicative action. One central tenet of Lafont’s philosophical work that runs throughout these otherwise very different works is her interest in the necessary conditions for normative rational criticism and reasoned change on this basis. This motivates her insistence on the need for realist correctives of the idealism characteristic of German philosophy of language as much as it is behind her critical examination of principles of public reason in deliberative democracy and as it drives her research in human rights.

Joachim Ritter was a German philosopher and founder of the so-called Ritter School.

In this article Jürgen Habermas, Sara Lennox, and Frank Lennox attempt to examine the notions of Habermas's thesis, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere focusing on the development of the public sphere today. The article begins by demonstrating the idea of a public sphere, referring to it as a “concept” in which private individuals assemble to form a public body in an “unrestricted fashion”. According to Habermas, the public sphere itself is to derive from democracy. He highlights the importance of the freedom to assemble and to express opinions in an inclusive manner. The opinions on matters of general interest from a large public body require a vehicle of transmission in order to supply information and enable the possibility for societal influence. He determines that the modern means for this transmission are through media such as newspapers, magazines, television, and radio.


  1. Peter Uwe Hohendahl, "Jürgen Habermas: 'The Public Sphere' (1964)," trans. Patricia Russian, New German Critique 3 (Autumn 1974), p. 45-8.