Its hot in Seattle. Right now its 86/30 and its meant to get hotter this week. I’ll try not to let it deter me from the mountain of work I have to do. One of the faces of this precipice overlooks a gaping abyss at the bottom of which lies the wreckage of unemployed and independent scholars. I’ll let the metaphor go there, but I’m trying to avoid this fate by following my examiners advice and developing some articles on Lukacs and Lefebvre. What follows is one of the prospective articles I am thinking through on Lukacs, that I pitched to the special issue of a sociology journal on the global socio-economic crisis. I dunno if its relevant to such an interpretation of sociology. So I might try to get it published elsewhere. At any rate here is the pitch–
In essence the article aims to fill a gap in contemporary critical theory by working towards developing a critical theory of social crisis. I propose to do so by entering the debate on Honneth and others recent attempt to rejuvenate the theory of reification. In contrast to these attempts to revise Lukacs’ theory by criticizing Lukacs supraindividual account of social structure and transform it into an inter-subjective or democratic theory, I propose that, in conjunction with Marx’s account of crisis in the 1861-63 Manuscripts, Lukacs’ comments on crisis provide a way of rejuvenating his supraindividual account of structure whilst also providing a frame for critical social theory to engage with crisis. I argue that this is the case because Lukacs’ comments on crisis as arising from the interactions between rationalized fragmented activity and the irrational whole provide a useful frame for understanding capitalism as a historically specific type of social production to which crises are endemic. I supplement this description with Marx’s comments from 1861-63, which investigate how such a form of social production underpins the development of crises. In doing so I hope to both point towards the usefulness of this dimension of Lukacs’ theory of reification for a critical social theory of crisis.