Insurrection and Commonwealth
Chapter 2. The Dialectic of the Concrete Concept: Ernest Manheim
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THE DIALECTIC OF THE CONCRETE CONCEPT:
Ernest Manheim was born in Budapest in 1900 and served in the Austro-Hungarian army as a lieutenant in World War I. After the conclusion of combat in Italy, he volunteered with the Red Army of Béla Kún and was taken prisoner defending the Hungarian Soviet Republic. War and upheaval evoked his great interest in sociological matters, and in 1923 he undertook graduate work with German sociologists Ferdinand Tönnies and Hans Freyer at Kiel and Leipzig. He completed his doctoral dissertation, but with the advent of German Nazism, Manheim, of Jewish background, was forced to flee to London. There he studied further with the famed anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, then joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1937. He was among the critical theorists who contributed to Horkheimer’s path-breaking Studien über Authorität und Familie, and in 1938 was selected as the founding chair of the sociology department at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he served for fifty years. In that capacity he differentiated himself from other more reluctant academics by his willingness in the mid-1950s to deliver expert testimony on the deleterious effects of racial segregation on student development and learning in the ← 41 | 42 →Topeka, Kansas, civil rights case that became famous in U.S. educational history—Brown vs. The Board of Education.1
Manheim’s Leipzig doctoral dissertation, Zur Logik des konkreten Begriffs (On the...
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