Reification and hegemony : the politics of culture in the writings of Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci, 1918-1938

This study is a comparison of the development of the theories of reification and hegemony in the writings and political activities of Georg Lukacs and Antonio Gramsci during the years from 1918 to 1938. In demonstrating that reification and hegemony were formulated in response to the unsuccessful revolutionary movements in Hungary and Italy of 1919-1920, it becomes evident that the respective theories of Lukacs and Gramsci were meant to constitute critiques of bourgeois cultural domination. Thus, their problematic extends to analyses of more specific issues, such as the role of positivist science as the prevailing "paradigm of rationality" and the instrumental function of "traditional" and "organic intellectuals." The solutions that both theorists sought in order to overcome reification and hegemony are embedded in their neo-Hegelian interpretations of Marxism, where historical materialism is defined as a methodology characterised by its utilisation of the conceptual tools of "dialectic," "totality," and "absolute historicism." However, Lukacs was forced by historical circumstances to retreat into the realm of aesthetics, although he continued the critique of reification by way of his theory of critical realism. Simultaneously, Gramsci began to elaborate more practical solutions to cultural domination through his theory of the "war of position," catharsis, and counter-hegemony.
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