Horkheimer Fellowship

To honor the legacy of Max Horkheimer – philosopher, sociologist and long-term director of the Institute for Social Research – as one of the key founders of Critical Theory, the IfS has been awarding the Horkheimer Fellowship to international postdoctoral scholars since 2023. The Fellowship’s aim is to support excellent scholars from all social science, humanities and cultural studies disciplines to pursue a research project at the Institute during a three-month stay.

The call for applications is issued annually.

Previous Fellows:


Bruna della Torre

The New Organization. Digital Culture Industry, Social Networks, and Right-Wing Propaganda in Brazil

The project reframes Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s concept of culture industry and the Frankfurt School’s studies of propaganda (as well as its contemporary successors) to analyze how the digital apparatus of social media impacts democracies in the Global South, with a particular focus on the recent Brazilian experiment. The objective is to investigate the relationship between the rise of right-wing extremism and the »Digital Culture Industry«. Within this scope, the idea proposed in this project is to expand the analysis of this propaganda concerning specific themes refined by theoretical and virtual ethnographic research so far. This implicates investigating the agitation that circulates mainly on social networks related to the defense of freedom (of speech and to carry weapons), anti-feminism and the so-called »Gender Ideology«, the spread of conspiracy theories, and the mobilization of apocalypticism. The goal of this research stay at the IfS is to write a book project inspired by the studies carried out in the 1940s by Leo Löwenthal and Norbert Guterman entitled Prophets of Deceit: A Study of the Techniques of the American Agitator (1948), in which the techniques of anti-democratic propaganda and its contents are thoroughly analyzed.

Bruna della Torre's profile.

Funded by the Otto Brenner Stiftung.