World in Disorder: Can theory still provide orientation?

The “Ideology Criticism. Today!” panel discussion will feature a debate among theorists from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and the Ljubljana School of Psychoanalysis.

Frankfurt meets Ljubljana: During the annual Frankfurt Book Fair and set against the backdrop of a world in disarray, philosophers from both places (of thought) will jointly discuss the potentials of ideology critique in Goethe University Frankfurt’s old Adorno Lecture Hall VI. The panel discussion “Ideologiekritik. Today!” [Ideology Criticism. Today!] is a main event in the program put together by guest of honor Slovenia at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair, and is jointly organized by the Slovenian Book Agency JAK, the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia, and Goethe University Frankfurt.

Panel discussion: Ideologiekritik. Today! with Mladen Dolar, Rainer Forst, Regina Kreide, Martin Saar, Slavoj Žižek and Alenka Zupančič, moderated by Frank Ruda. Friday, October 20, at 7:00 P.M., Adorno Lecture Hall VI, Bockenheim Campus, Goethe University Frankfurt. The event will be held in English.

Background: The contemporary world is in a state of disarray: An imminent (or rather, ongoing) ecological crisis of unprecedented magnitude exists alongside extreme forms of socioeconomic and political inequality; new forms of technological domination and control coincide with a resurgence of populisms and authoritarianisms; and signifiers once associated with emancipatory social movements and theories (e.g. Freedom! or Self-Determination!) today are often used in a reactionary manner. What actions are available in the current situation? Can “theory” provide guidance? And if so, how?

The panel “Ideology Critique. Today!” will bring together important theorists from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and the Ljubljana School of Psychoanalysis, each of whom will present and speak on their own behalf – not as representatives of a school. Together, they will critically discuss and review the possibilities, limits and insights of the different contemporary approaches to ideology critique in the face of a world in disarray. “Critical theory of the Frankfurt School has always pursued the approach of a rational analysis and critique of social unreason. To this end, various combinations of emancipatory theories based on German idealism have been elaborated, from Marx to Freudian psychoanalysis and a discourse theory of democracy or recognition. In scrutinizing the power-theoretical dynamics of contemporary societies, the approaches of the Ljubljana School, on the other hand, interpret German idealism and Marx in the light of Lacan and structuralism. High time for a joint conversation on ideology critique today,” explains Rainer Forst, Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt.

After a series of opening statements, the panel will address the current crisis and contemporary paradoxes of authority and sovereignty. It will discuss contemporary forms and ideologies of freedom as well as the social disorientations and perversions they can generate and reproduce. Finally, the panel will seek to analyze the contemporary form(s) of capitalism in which and through which we live.

The event will be livestreamed on Goethe University Frankfurt’s YouTube channel.

For more information on the program of Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honor Slovenia, visit: Guest of Honour 2023: Slovenia | Frankfurter Buchmesse or

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