By Timothy Bewes
Of all of the strategies that have emerged to explain the results of capitalism at the human international, none is extra picture or simply grasped than “reification”—the method during which women and men are changed into gadgets, issues. bobbing up out of Marx’s account of commodity fetishism, the concept that of reification deals an unrivalled device with which to provide an explanation for the true outcomes of the facility of capital on awareness itself.
Symptoms of reification are proliferating round us—from the branding of products and companies to racial and sexual stereotypes, all sorts of spiritual religion, the expansion of nationalism, and up to date recommendations like “spin” and “globalization.” At the sort of time, the time period should take pleasure in larger serious foreign money than ever. contemporary thinkers, despite the fact that, have expressed deep reservations concerning the notion, and the time period has develop into marginalized within the humanities and social societies.
Eschewing this development, Timothy Bewes opens up a brand new formula of the concept that, claiming that, within the hugely reflective age of “late capitalism,” reification is better understood as a kind of social and cultural anxiety: extra, that such an figuring out returns the idea that to its origins within the paintings of Georg Lukács. Drawing upon writers together with Kierkegaard, Herman Melville, Proust and Flannery O’Connor, he outlines a idea of reification which provides to unite politics with fact, artwork with adventure, and philosophy with actual existence.
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Extra resources for Reification: or the Anxiety of Late Capitalism
In keeping with Bermãrr, the earþ Lukács represents a subversive pressure of individuarism and soiritualiry inside Marxist idea, which generally provides him extra in universal with writers outdoors the Marxist culture than with these inside it. 2 Lukácst Marxism is richer for the facr that his 'kindred spirits' (Rousseau, Dostoevsþ Nietzsche) have been all 'a rot more strange than Marx'- the implication being that the first his_ torical function of Marxism is that of an ideological repãsitory for a couple of eccentric and proficient people who may well . "rily have thrived in Berman's paris of the 1g50s or his New ", york of the Nineteen Sixties. three In Bermant 'humanist Marxism' we see one other permutation of the 'god that failed' thesis: it really is while Lukács betrays his religion and enters the Soviet 'machine' that he turns into a logo of decline. Agles Heller presents a correcrive to this power Manichaeanism in her essay ,Lukács,s Later philosophy,, the place she argues that, faraway from a second of apostasy, Lukáis's ,stalinist flip' represents a continuation alongside the line of religion _ his pro_ gression ro a 'stage' (to use Kierkegaard's time period) past thit at which one's activities must be justified within the eyes of orhers: 'Lukács's repudiation of Hßtory and crass cognizance used to be prompted either through the existential number of an absolute and through the nervousness elicited by means of that same absolute . . . Lukács believes in his God, but even as he acknowledges the entire dust and overall REIFICATION (II): examining LUKÄCS 87 horror of "God's created international" and contrasts this extant international with an incredible international that might be commensurate along with his God. 'a the consequences of this are critical for Berman's thesis of the 2 Lukácses, as Fleller keeps: ',\ll those that see in him the consultant of Stalinism . . . are correct, whereas those that see him as Stalin's maximum philosophical adversary also are correct. For until eventually his final years, whilst his trust within the absolute turned shaky, he was once either. ' there isn't any contradiction berr,veen the knight of 'We may perhaps religion of Budapest and the apparatchik, of Moscow. convey this in bolder, starker phrases as follows: there is not any contradiction among Lukács's concept of reification, as articulated in heritage and sophistication attention, and his later repudiation of that conception - the latter being an important stream and a corollary of the previous. the ambiguity is that of Abraham, whose religion in God, at its purest and least worldly, is expressible purely within the unfathomable and socially unacceptable kind of the sacrifice of his son Isaac. Reminiscing approximately Lukács, Isrván Eörsi writes the next: 'Lukács selected Bolshevism, yet with out the innocence so much of his contemporaries had. He was once absolutely conscious of committing a sin. 's to demonstrate his aspect, Eörsi retells the tale of whilst Lukács, connected to the 5th department of the Budapest purple military as a political commissar through the Czech-Romanian offensive of 1,91,9, ordered the execution of 8 rnembers of a battalion who had abandoned their posts with out firing a shot.