Tomorrow I get back to my thesis. In what will be a final push lasting six weeks I need to work on three things: (1) situating why my thesis is important i.e. what impact it will have. (2) sorting out the last section of my conclusion. (3) bringing out the perspective through which I am interpreting fetishism in Marx, Lukacs, Adorno and Lefebvre.
Although I haven’t touched the thesis I have been thinking over the first two. (I’m not as concerned about the third one since I can always at least point where I make these statements to those who do a superficial reading.) In what follows I talk about the first.
The way I think I’m going to approach it is through triangulation. My supervisors said I needed to say why it was important not to conflate reification with fetishism. To answer this I’ll start out with some grandiose claims that I think it is important not to conflate reification with fetishism because I think the theory of fetishism can be relevant for a contemporary Marxian critical theory. I will point out that the concept is neglected in contemporary critical theory and that Western Marxism in general seems to have fallen into disrepute. I will also further state that recent attempts to rehabilitate categories or approaches traditionally associated with Marxian critical social theory by leading social theorists are problematic.
Here is where i’ll throw in some cheeky triangulation, provided it doesn’t lead too far astray. I’ll claim on one hand that Honneth’s rehabilitation of reification is right to view (a) Lukacs’ account of how reification is constituted and socially pervasive as problematic but that (b) he took quickly moves from dismissing Lukacs’ account of reification with any account of supraindividual social domination. On the other hand I’ll argue that Postone’s attempt to rehabilitate critical theory is (a) right to focus on the question of social domination but that (b) his theoretical explanation of the genesis of social domination is likewise flawed as it rests on an obtuse and fragmented account of the social constitution and social domination of capital. (i.e. as can be seen in the intro to TLSD Postone is basically Lukacs but from a different standpoint, which itself is a very Lukasian claim.)
This will lead me to argue that a third way exists in the theory of fetishism, which as i will divulge in my thesis, consists in a theory of social constitution and the ensuing constituent properties of theories of social domination in Marx, Lukacs, Adorno and Lefebvre. Uncovering such a thread therefore points to a possibility of substantiating a new insight into theories of fetishism, rejuvinating Western Marxist thinking and possibly contributing to a contemporary Marxian critical theory of society that does not fall prey to weaknesses of Honneth and Postone’s theories. In my thesis I concern with the former and include some speculations on the later in my conclusion.