negative dialectics. Adorno himself names his critique one of 'dissonance'. It is the dissonance between thought and actuality, concept and object, identity and non-identity, that must be revealed. 75 The task of the critic is to illuminate those cracks in the totality, those fissures in the social net, those moments of disharmony and discrepancy, through which the untruth of the whole is revealed and glimmers of another life become visible. In an essay on the possibilities of social conflict in late-capitalist societies, Adorno can thus advance the otherwise astonishing claim that the conflict potentials of society are not to be sought in organized, collective protest and struggles, but in everyday gestures like laughter: 'All collective laughter has grown out of such scapegoat mentality, a compromise between the pleasure of releasing one's aggression and the controlling mechanisms of censure, which do not permit this.' 76 When one demands a strict sociological definition of social conflicts, then one blocks access to such experiences which are ungraspable, but 'whose nuances contain likewise traces of violence and ciphers of possible emancipation'. 77
Through his method of emancipatory dissonance, Adorno becomes an ethnologist of advanced civilization, seeking to reveal those moments of implicit resistance and suffering in which the human potential to defy the administered world becomes manifest. It is unclear that these 'ciphers' of possible emancipation to which Adorno appeals can justify the normative standpoint of critical theory. The charge that the critique of instrumental reason articulates the privileged discourse of a 'holy family' is left unanswered. The transition from the critique of political economy to the critique of instrumental reason alters not only the content criticized but the very logic of social criticism, and of the critique of ideologies.