Advertisement

Self-consciousness and Identity

  • Richard Westerman
Chapter
Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)

Abstract

Westerman examines Lukács’s identification of the proletariat as the site of the overcoming of reification. While agreeing that his argument is not entirely convincing, Westerman argues that its failure is more interesting than normally assumed. First, Lukács suggests that reification produces a contradictory structure within individual consciousness that fragments the subject, leaving their lives increasingly empty. While his argument may not succeed entirely, it offers useful ways to think about how reification may be ruptured, and the seeming permanence of capitalism may be brought into question. Such fragmentation, however, is only negative—and may equally well generate reactionary responses as revolutionary ones, as shown by the recent rise of populism. Lukács suggests that an open, inclusive Party is the way to avoid this: it provides a fluid forum in which subjects may work together in generating a common identity.

Bibliography

  1. 1.
    Arato, Andrew, and Paul Breines. 1979. The Young Lukács and the Origins of Western Marxism. New York: Seabury.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Benjamin, Walter. 1990. On Some Motifs in Baudelaire. In Illuminations. Trans. Harry Zorn, ed. Hannah Arendt, 52–90. London: Pimlico.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Feenberg, Andrew. 2014. The Philosophy of Praxis: Marx, Lukács, and the Frankfurt School. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hall, Timothy. 2011. Justice and the Good Life in Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness. In Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence. Aesthetics, Politics, Literature, ed. Timothy Bewes and Timothy Hall, 121–138. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hanzel, Igor. 2014. ‘The Circular Course of Our Representation’: Schein, Grund, and Erscheinung in Marx’s Economic Works. In Marx’s Capital and Hegel’s Logic: A Reexamination, ed. Fred Moseley and Tony Smith, 214–239. Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Honneth, Axel. 1995. The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. Trans. Joel Anderson. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Husserl, Edmund. 1970 [1954]. The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Trans. David Carr. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kavoulakos, Konstantinos. 2011. Back to History? Reinterpreting Lukács’ Early Marxist Work in Light of the Antinomies of Contemporary Critical Theory. In Georg Lukács Reconsidered: Critical Essays in Politics, Philosophy and Aesthetics, ed. Michael J. Thompson, 151–171. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Larsen, Neil. 2011. Lukács sans Proletariat, or Can History and Class Consciousness be Rehistoricized? In Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence. Aesthetics, Politics, Literature, ed. Timothy Bewes and Timothy Hall, 81–101. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Löwy, Michael. 1979. Georg Lukács: From Romanticism to Bolshevism. Trans. Patrick Camiller. London: NLB.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lukács, Georg. 1968–1981. In Werke, (W), ed. György Márkus and Frank Benseler, 18 vols. Darmstadt: Luchterhand.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    ———. 1971. History & Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, [HCC]. Trans. Rodney Livingstone. London: Merlin.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    ———. 1997. Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His Thought. Trans. Nicholas Jacobs. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    ———. 1972. Tactics and Ethics: Political Essays, 1919–29. Trans. Michael McColgan, ed. Rodney Livingstone. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1973. Adventures of the Dialectic. Trans. Joseph Bien. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stedman Jones, G. 1977. The Marxism of the Early Lukács. In Western Marxism: A Critical Reader, ed. Stedman Jones et al., 11–60. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Vajda, Mihály. 1983. Lukács and Husserl. In Lukács Revalued, ed. Ágnes Heller et al., 107–124. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Westerman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations