Tweeking with Lukacs

Sorry to say this yet another post about my thesis and not an anecdote about Lukacs and I out on a meth bender.  As I near the process of completion I’ve come to realize these posts have helped me formulate and re-write bits. But in 5 weeks or so–after I hand in–expect a post riddled with anecdotes equivalent to Lukacs and I on a meth bender.

The good news is that the chapter on Lukacs doesn’t need rewriting so much as tweeking. I’m trying to come up with neat names for each theory of fetishism and social domination Marx, Lukacs, Adorno and Lefebvre formulate. I’ve done this already with the others. Its proven more difficult with Lukacs because of the ambivalent and somewhat amorphous breadth of reification. I started by designating it as something like fetishism as reification to signify that he doesn’t distinguish between the two related concepts. Then I added thingification. Now I think I’m going to add dominating mystification. This is because it seems to me that that his account of domination–due to the conflation of objectification and alienation that is premiss of Lukacs interpretation of fetishism– ends up as an account of the domination generated by the mystifying properties of the false objectivity of thingified social totality. I think this is the case because despite the fact that Lukacs separates the objective forms and subjective stances in the first two sections of the reification essay, by the third section of the essay the standpoint of the proletariat–in dispersing these forms to reveal the class relation that underlies them– retrospectively renders these objective forms into false objectivity. This also seems to retrospectively transform the account of objective domination he has given in part one into a dominating mystification, at least for the proletariat. In addition this term also gives me some justification for why I include Lukacs’ account of the mystifying elements of fetishism as inseparable from Lukacs account of domination when in others I just focus on the dominating elements.

So I spent the better part of my day tweeking the chapter to add these bits. I also tried to lessen my criticisms of Lukacs and bring out his account of social constitution a little more. The former was easy enough since I just translated my more forthright criticisms into the ‘English’ practice of understated criticism. (to do this you just need to add phrases like it seems, or substitute words like these all give Rawls no legs to stand on with something like these worries seem to undermine some of Rawls argument). The later is hard simply because Lukacs does not really have an account of social constitution. Instead he relies on proclaiming his fidelity to Marx and and using a few Hegelian categories like dialectical social totality to account for the constitution and reproduction of reified capitalist totality. It also seems reflective of the dominating mystification/objectification alienation problem because his account of de-reification ultimately shifts to dispersing this false objectivity from an epistemological standpoint–in which subject and object are reconciled– rather than offering an account of how these forms possess necessary social objectivity because they are constituted by atomized production for exchange.

The only problem is that in the course of undertaken some of this tweeking I forgot to emphasize the role of class standpoint. I do know its fundamental to Lukacs’ argument but I’m trying to rid myself of one those lethargy inducing two day hangovers. So more tweeking will have to be done.




About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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