Scientific Knowledge and Political Action: On the Antinomies of Lukács' Thought in "History and Class Consciousness"

Science and Society 67 (1):39 - 67 (2003)
Lukács' theory of reification as developed in History and Class Consciousness represents an interesting approach to revolutionary subjectivity that goes beyond the objectivism of traditional Marxist accounts. However, his Weberian leanings hindered the concretization of his profound initial insights, and ended up generating antinomies he could not solve. Fundamentally, the basic contradiction of Lukács' theory of reification lies in the gulf between the source of reification (in the real subsumption of labor under capital) and the posited ground for its overcoming (in the formal subsumption). From a Marxian perspective, the overcoming of alienation can only result from the historical movement of the contradictions immanent in the real subsumption of labor under capital, as the historically specific form in which human productive subjectivity develops.
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