The Lifestyle of Modern Day Adorno

Lifestyle is a collection of habits and patterns of behavior that are generally considered normal and desirable, but not appropriate for all people in particular circumstances. In the 20th century, however, the concept of a lifestyle had been extended to include such things as gender, race, ethnicity, class, and even psychology. Today, a typical definition of a lifestyle includes the following: the way one engages in interaction with others, the choices one makes in regard to personal relationships, work style, leisure time, financial status, cultural orientation, intellectual style, and the place one grew up. Lifestyle can also be used in a broader context to refer to any set of standards or actions that people generally take to meet their goals.


The word lifestyle has become a very popular word, but its meaning has become muddled over time. Originally, the meaning was “the general way of living, as practiced by members of a culture”. For instance, Adolph Adler’s definition of lifestyle was “the general way of living, as practiced by members of a cultured society”. Today, the word has been expanded to include more specific criteria, such as a persons’ attitude, values, beliefs, education, occupations, occupational choice, and personal styles.

Adorno was an important precursor of the field known as post-modernism, which examined the effects of changing life-styles on people. His ideas became central to the development of the discipline known as Critical Theory. A decade after Adorno’s death, theodor Adorno and Max Weber developed the concept of mass culture, which focused on the effects that change in any form can have on people. Theodor Adorno believed that the basis for modern liberal freedom was a mass-based lifestyle based on “a community of shared values and interests and a set of fixed principles and practices”.