This article explores a forgotten theoretical program developed, and eventually dropped, by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno in the 1940s. In letters, drafts and memorandums, but also in the chapter “Elements of Anti-Semitism” in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno sought to clarify whether anti-Semitic stereotypes corresponded in some way with certain “Jewish” behavioral patterns and character traits. But their socio-psychological mapping of contemporary Jewry revealed, first of all, the authors’ own stereotypes and biases toward the Jews. Upon their return to Germany, Horkheimer and Adorno abandoned this program, but many of the research methods that were employed to operationalize these biases survived in their sociological and pedagogical projects of the 1950s and 1960s.
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston