Thesis Eleven 157 (1):41-59 (2020)

After the initial formulation of the concept of reification in Georg Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness, a series of confusing uses of it within critical theory have contributed to blurring its contours. In his pre-Marxist work, while analyzing the social rationalization process, Lukács located the modern form of mediation between subject and object and connected it with certain effects on the level of human consciousness and behavior. This very scheme is repeated and refined in HCC. In the Reification essay, Lukács uses the neo-Kantian concept of the “form of objectivity” to grasp the central constitutive form of all kinds of objects in bourgeois society. He interprets Marx’s commodity form as the “archetype” of all capitalist objectivity, which consists in converting qualitative contents into quantitative categories. Thus, the formal/calculative rationality of exchange penetrates all kinds of objectification in modern society. In Lukács’s view, only in its modern, universalized form does rational objectification bring about the phenomenon of reification, i.e. the de-historicization and political neutralization of the social relations that constitute the social system and the dominant forms of consciousness. This systemic, cultural, and political understanding of reification can prove to be fruitful in the context of contemporary discussions on democratic transformative praxis.
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DOI 10.1177/0725513619889693
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One-Dimensional Man.Renford Bambrough - 1964 - Philosophy 69 (269):380-381.
Negative Dialectics.Raymond Geuss - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (6):167-175.

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