Confronting Reification

Revitalizing Georg Lukács’s Thought in Late Capitalism


Georg Lukács (1885-1971) was one of the most original Marxist philosophers and literary critics of the twentieth century. His work was a major influence on what we now know as critical theory. Almost fifty years after his death, Lukács’s legacy has come under attack by right-wing extremists in his native Hungary. Despite efforts to erase his memory, Lukács remains a philosophical gadfly.

In Confronting Reification, an international team of fourteen scholars explicate, reassess, and apply one of Lukács’s most significant philosophical contributions, his theory of reification. Based on papers presented at the 2017 Legacy of Georg Lukács conference held in Budapest, the essays in this volume demonstrate the vitality of Lukács’s thought and its relevance.

Contributors include: Rüdiger Dannemann, Frank Engster, Andrew Feenberg, Joseph Grim Feinberg, Andraž Jež, Christian Lotz, Csaba Olay, Tom Rockmore, Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker, Mariana Teixeira, Michael J. Thompson, Tivadar Vervoort, Richard Westerman, and Sean Winkler.

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Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker currently teaches at Rutgers University where he is pursuing his PhD in political science. His most recently published edited books include The Political Thought of African Independence: An Anthology of Sources (Hackett, 2017) and (with Michael J. Thompson) Anti-Science and the Assault on Democracy (Prometheus, 2018).
 Notes on Contributors

  Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker

Part 1: Interpreting Reification: The Meaning and Origins of a Concept

1 Lukács’s Theory of Reification: An Introduction
  Andrew Feenberg

2 Categorial Forms as Intelligibility of Social Objects: Reification and Objectivity in Lukács
  Christian Lotz

3 Reification in History and Class Consciousness
  Csaba Olay

Part 2: Philosophical Interventions in the Concept of Reification: Applications, Critiques, and Connections

4 Reification, Values and Norms: toward a Critical Theory of Consciousness
  Michael J. Thompson

5 Reification and the Mechanistic World-Picture: Lukács and Grossmann on Mechanistic Philosophy
  Sean Winkler

6 “The Nature of Humanity, or Rather the Nature of Things” – Reification in Works of Georg Lukács and Walter Benjamin
  Andraž Jež

7 Lukács on Reification and Epistemic Constructivism
  Tom Rockmore

Part 3: Reification and the Idea of Socialism: Lukács’s Contributions and Its Limitations for the Renewal of Radical Politics

8 The Project of Renewing the Idea of Socialism and the Theory of Reification
Rüdiger Dannemann

9 Georg Lukács’s Archimedean Socialism
  Joseph Grim Feinberg

10 Lukács’s Idea of Communism and Its Blind Spot: Money
  Frank Engster

Part 4: Social and Political Interventions in the Idea of Reification: Gender, Race, Neoliberalism, and Populism

11 The Revolutionary Subject in Lukács and Feminist Standpoint Theory: Dilaceration and Emancipatory Interest
  Mariana Teixeira

12 Linking Racism and Reification in the Thought of Georg Lukács
  Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker

13 Reification and Neoliberalism: Is There an Alternative?
  Tivadar Vervoort

14 Populism and the Logic of Commodity Fetishism: Lukács’s Theory of Reification and Authoritarian Leaders
  Richard Westerman

Anyone interested in Marxist philosophy, critical theory, and continental philosophy.
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