Herbert Marcuse

Herbert Marcuse (/mɑːrˈkuːzə/; German: [maɐ̯ˈkuːzə]; July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-American philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Born in Berlin, Marcuse studied at the Humboldt University of Berlin and then at Freiburg, where he received his PhD.[3] He was a prominent figure in the Frankfurt-based Institute for Social Research – what later became known as the Frankfurt School. He was married to Sophie Wertheim (1924–1951), Inge Neumann (1955–1973), and Erica Sherover (1976–1979).[4][5][6] In his written works, he criticized capitalism, modern technology, historical materialism and entertainment culture, arguing that they represent new forms of social control.[7]

Between 1943 and 1950, Marcuse worked in US government service for the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) where he criticized the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the book Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958). After his studies, in the 1960s and the 1970s he became known as the preeminent theorist of the New Left and the student movements of West Germany, France, and the United States; some consider him the "father of the New Left".[8]

His best known works are Eros and Civilization (1955) and One-Dimensional Man (1964). His Marxist scholarship inspired many radical intellectuals and political activists in the 1960s and 1970s, both in the United States and internationally.

Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse in Newton, Massachusetts 1955.jpeg
Marcuse in 1955 in Newton, Massachusetts[1]
BornJuly 19, 1898
DiedJuly 29, 1979 (aged 81)
Nationality
  • German
  • American
Alma materUniversity of Freiburg
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Sophie Wertheim
    (m. 1924; died 1951)
  • Inge Neumann
    (m. 1955; died 1973)
  • Erica Sherover (m. 1976)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
School
Main interests
Notable ideas

Biography

Early life

Herbert Marcuse was born July 19, 1898, in Berlin, to Carl Marcuse and Gertrud Kreslawsky. His family was Jewish. In 1916 he was drafted into the German Army, but only worked in horse stables in Berlin during World War I. He then became a member of a Soldiers' Council that participated in the aborted socialist Spartacist uprising. He completed his PhD thesis at the University of Freiburg in 1922 on the German Künstlerroman after which he moved back to Berlin, where he worked in publishing. In 1924 he married Sophie Wertheim, a mathematician. He returned to Freiburg in 1928 to study with Edmund Husserl and write a habilitation with Martin Heidegger, which was published in 1932 as Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity (Hegels Ontologie und die Theorie der Geschichtlichkeit). This study was written in the context of the Hegel renaissance that was taking place in Europe with an emphasis on Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's ontology of life and history, idealist theory of spirit and dialectic.[9] With his academic career blocked by the rise of the Third Reich, in 1933 Marcuse joined the Institute for Social Research, popularly known as the Frankfurt School, in 1932. He went almost at once into exile with them, first briefly in Geneva, then in the United States. Unlike some others, Marcuse did not return to Germany after the war, and when he visited Frankfurt in 1956, the young Jürgen Habermas was surprised to discover that he was a key member of the Institute.[10]

In 1933, Marcuse published his first major review, of Karl Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. In this review, Marcuse revised the interpretation of Marxism, from the standpoint of the works of the early Marx.[9]

While a member of the Institute of Social Research, Marcuse developed a model for critical social theory, created a theory of the new stage of state and monopoly capitalism, described the relationships between philosophy, social theory, and cultural criticism, and provided an analysis and critique of German fascism. Marcuse worked closely with critical theorists while at the institute.[9]

Emigration to the United States

After emigrating from Germany in 1933, Marcuse immigrated to the United States in 1934, where he became a citizen in 1940. Although he never returned to Germany to live, he remained one of the major theorists associated with the Frankfurt School, along with Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno (among others). In 1940 he published Reason and Revolution, a dialectical work studying G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx.

World War II

During World War II, Marcuse first worked for the US Office of War Information (OWI) on anti-Nazi propaganda projects. In 1943, he transferred to the Research and Analysis Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Directed by the Harvard historian William L. Langer, the Research and Analysis Branch was in fact the biggest American research institution in the first half of the twentieth century. At its zenith between 1943 and 1945, it comprised over twelve hundred employees, four hundred of whom were stationed abroad. In many respects, it was the site where post–World War II American social science was born, with protégés of some of the most esteemed American university professors, as well as a large contingent of European intellectual émigrés, in its ranks.

These men comprised the "theoretical brain trust" of the American war machine, which, according to its founder, William J. Donovan, would function as a "final clearinghouse" for the secret services—that is, as a structure that, although not engaged in determining war strategy or tactics, would be able to assemble, organize, analyze, and filter the immense flow of military information directed toward Washington, thanks to the unique capacity of the specialists on hand to interpret the relevant sources.[11]

In March 1943, Marcuse joined his fellow Frankfurt School scholar Franz Neumann in R & A's Central European Section as senior analyst and rapidly established himself as "the leading analyst on Germany.[12]

After the dissolution of the OSS in 1945, Marcuse was employed by the US Department of State as head of the Central European section, retiring after the death of his first wife in 1951.

Post-war

In 1952, Marcuse began a teaching career as a political theorist, first at Columbia University, then at Harvard University. Marcuse worked at Brandeis University from 1958 to 1965, then at the University of California San Diego until his retirement. It was during his time at Brandeis University that he wrote his most famous work, One-Dimensional Man (1964).[13]

Marcuse was a friend and collaborator of the political sociologist Barrington Moore Jr. and of the political philosopher Robert Paul Wolff, and also a friend of the Columbia University sociology professor C. Wright Mills, one of the founders of the New Left movement. In his "Introduction" to One-Dimensional Man, Marcuse wrote, "I should like to emphasize the vital importance of the work of C. Wright Mills."[14]

In the post-war period, Marcuse rejected the theory of class struggle and the Marxist concern with labor, instead claiming, according to Leszek Kołakowski, that since "all questions of material existence have been solved, moral commands and prohibitions are no longer relevant." He regarded the realization of man's erotic nature as the true liberation of humanity, which inspired the utopias of Jerry Rubin and others.[15]

Marcuse's critiques of capitalist society (especially his 1955 synthesis of Marx and Sigmund Freud, Eros and Civilization, and his 1964 book One-Dimensional Man) resonated with the concerns of the student movement in the 1960s. Because of his willingness to speak at student protests and his essay Repressive Tolerance (1965),[9] Marcuse soon became known in the media as "Father of the New Left."[9][16] Contending that the students of the sixties were not waiting for the publication of his work to act,[16] Marcuse brushed the media's branding of him as "Father of the New Left" aside lightly,[16] saying "It would have been better to call me not the father, but the grandfather, of the New Left."[16] His work heavily influenced intellectual discourse on popular culture and scholarly popular culture studies. He had many speaking engagements in the US and Western Bloc in the late 1960s and 1970s. He became a close friend and inspirer of the French philosopher André Gorz.

Marcuse defended the arrested East German dissident Rudolf Bahro (author of Die Alternative: Zur Kritik des real existierenden Sozialismus [trans., The Alternative in Eastern Europe]), discussing in a 1979 essay Bahro's theories of "change from within."[17]

The New Left and radical politics

Many radical scholars and activists were influenced by Marcuse, such as Norman O. Brown,[18] Angela Davis,[19] Captain Charles J. Moore, Kathy Acker, Abbie Hoffman, Rudi Dutschke, and Robert M. Young. (See the List of Scholars and Activists link, below.) Among those who critiqued him from the left were Marxist-humanist Raya Dunayevskaya, fellow German emigre Paul Mattick, both of whom subjected One-Dimensional Man to a Marxist critique, and Noam Chomsky, who knew and liked Marcuse "but thought very little of his work."[20] Marcuse's 1965 essay "Repressive Tolerance", in which he claimed capitalist democracies can have totalitarian aspects, has been criticized by conservatives.[21] Marcuse argues that genuine tolerance does not permit support for "repression", since doing so ensures that marginalized voices will remain unheard. He characterizes tolerance of repressive speech as "inauthentic". Instead, he advocates a form of tolerance that is intolerant of repressive (namely right-wing) political movements:

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.

Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements that promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or that oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.[22]

Marcuse later expressed his radical ideas through three pieces of writing. He wrote An Essay on Liberation in 1969, in which he celebrated liberation movements such as those in Vietnam, which inspired many radicals. In 1972 he wrote Counterrevolution and Revolt, which argues that the hopes of the 1960s were facing a counterrevolution from the right.[9]

After Brandeis denied the renewal of his teaching contract in 1965, Marcuse taught at the University of California San Diego until his retirement and devoted the rest of his life to teaching, writing and giving lectures around the world. His efforts brought him attention from the media, which claimed that he openly advocated violence, although he often clarified that only "violence of defense" could be appropriate, not "violence of aggression". He continued to promote Marxian theory, with some of his students helping to spread his ideas. He published his final work The Aesthetic Dimension in 1979 on the role of art in the process of what he termed "emancipation" from bourgeois society.[9]

Marriages

Grave-of-Herbert-Marcuse
Grave in the Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery, Berlin, where Marcuse's ashes were buried in 2003

Marcuse married three times. His first wife was mathematician Sophie Wertheim (1901–1951), with whom he had a son, Peter (born 1928). Herbert's second marriage was to Inge Neumann (1910–1973), the widow of his close friend Franz Neumann (1900–1954). His third wife was Erica Sherover (1938–1988), a former graduate student and forty years his junior, whom he married in 1976. His son Peter Marcuse is professor emeritus of urban planning at Columbia University. His granddaughter is the novelist Irene Marcuse and his grandson, Harold Marcuse, is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Death

On July 29, 1979, ten days after his eighty-first birthday, Marcuse died after suffering a stroke during a visit to Germany. He had spoken at the Frankfurt Römerberggespräche, and was on his way to the Max Planck Institute for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World in Starnberg, on invitation from second-generation Frankfurt School theorist Jürgen Habermas. In 2003, after his ashes were rediscovered in the United States, they were buried in the Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery in Berlin.

Sophie and Herbert in their New York apartment
Herbert Marcuse and his first wife Sophie Marcuse in their New York apartment

Philosophy and views

Marcuse's famous concept repressive desublimation refers to his argument that postwar mass culture, with its profusion of sexual provocations, serves to reinforce political repression. If people are preoccupied with inauthentic sexual stimulation, their political energy will be "desublimated"; instead of acting constructively to change the world, they remain repressed and uncritical. Marcuse advanced the prewar thinking of critical theory toward a critical account of the "one-dimensional" nature of bourgeois life in Europe and America. His thinking could, therefore, also be considered an advance of the concerns of earlier liberal critics such as David Riesman.[23]

Two aspects of Marcuse's work are of particular importance, first, his use of language more familiar from the critique of Soviet or Nazi regimes to characterize developments in the advanced industrial world; and second, his grounding of critical theory in a particular use of psychoanalytic thought. Both of these features of his thinking have often been misunderstood and have given rise to critiques of his work that miss the point of his targets.[24]

Marcuse's early "Heideggerian Marxism"

During his years in Freiburg, Marcuse wrote a series of essays that explored the possibility of synthesizing Marxism and Heidegger's fundamental ontology, as begun in the latter's work Being and Time (1927). This early interest in Heidegger followed Marcuse's demand for "concrete philosophy," which, he declared in 1928, "concerns itself with the truth of contemporaneous human existence."[25] These words were directed against the neo-Kantianism of the mainstream, and against both the revisionist and orthodox Marxist alternatives, in which the subjectivity of the individual played little role.[26] Though Marcuse quickly distanced himself from Heidegger following Heidegger's endorsement of Nazism, it has been suggested by thinkers such as Jürgen Habermas that an understanding of Marcuse's later thinking demands an appreciation of his early Heideggerian influence.[27]

Marcuse and capitalism

Marcuse's analysis of capitalism derives partially from one of Karl Marx's main concepts: Objectification,[28] which under capitalism becomes Alienation. Marx believed that capitalism was exploiting humans; that by producing objects of a certain character, laborers became alienated and this ultimately dehumanized them into functional objects themselves. Marcuse took this belief and expanded it. He argued that capitalism and industrialization pushed laborers so hard that they began to see themselves as extensions of the objects they were producing. At the beginning of One-Dimensional Man Marcuse writes, "The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment,"[29] meaning that under capitalism (in consumer society) humans become extensions of the commodities that they buy, thus making commodities extensions of people's minds and bodies. Affluent mass technological societies, he argues, are totally controlled and manipulated. In societies based upon mass production and mass distribution, the individual worker has become merely a consumer of its commodities and entire commodified way of life. Modern Capitalism has created false needs and false consciousness geared to consumption of commodities: it locks one-dimensional man into the one-dimensional society which produced the need for people to recognize themselves in their commodities.[30]

The very mechanism that ties the individual to his society has changed and social control is anchored in the new needs which it has produced. Most important of all, the pressure of consumerism has led to the total integration of the working class into the capitalist system. Its political parties and trade unions have become thoroughly bureaucratized and the power of negative thinking or critical reflection has rapidly declined.[31] The working class is no longer a potentially subversive force capable of bringing about revolutionary change. As a result, rather than looking to the workers as the revolutionary vanguard, Marcuse put his faith in an alliance between radical intellectuals and those groups not yet integrated into one-dimensional society, the socially marginalized, the substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other ethnicities and other colors, the unemployed and the unemployable. These were the people whose standards of living demanded the ending of intolerable conditions and institutions and whose resistance to one-dimensional society would not be diverted by the system. Their opposition was revolutionary even if their consciousness was not.[30]

Criticism

Leszek Kołakowski described Marcuse's views as essentially anti-Marxist, in that they ignored Marx's critique of Hegel and discarded the historical theory of class struggle entirely in favor of an inverted Freudian reading of human history where all social rules could and should be discarded to create a "New World of Happiness." Kołakowski concluded that Marcuse's ideal society "is to be ruled despotically by an enlightened group [who] have realized in themselves the unity of Logos and Eros, and thrown off the vexatious authority of logic, mathematics, and the empirical sciences."[15]

The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre asserted that almost all of Marcuse's key positions are false and that his generalizations were based upon the total absence of any account of contemporary social structure. Featherstone criticized his portrayal of modern consumerism: it falsely assumed that consumers were completely passive, uncritically responding to corporate advertising.[30]

Legacy

Herbert Marcuse appealed to students of the New Left through his emphasis on the power of critical thought and his vision of total human emancipation and a non-repressive civilization. He supported students he felt were subject to the pressures of a commodifying system, and has been regarded as an inspirational intellectual leader.[30] He is also considered among the most influential of the Frankfurt School critical theorists on American culture, due to his studies on student and counter-cultural movements on the 1960s.[32] The legacy of the 1960s, of which Marcuse was a vital part, lives on, and the Great Refusal is still practiced by oppositional groups and individuals who refuse to conform to the existing systems of oppression and domination.[30]

Bibliography

Books
  • Hegel's Ontology and Theory of Historicity (1932) originally written in German; English 1987.
  • Studie über Autorität und Familie (1936) in German, republished 1987, 2005. Marcuse wrote just over 100 pages in this 900-page study.
  • Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory (1941). ISBN 978-1-57392-718-5
  • Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud (1955). ISBN 978-0-415-18663-6
  • Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958)
  • One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964).
  • A Critique of Pure Tolerance (1965) Essay "Repressive Tolerance," with additional essays by Robert Paul Wolff and Barrington Moore Jr.
  • Negations: Essays in Critical Theory (1968)
  • An Essay on Liberation (1969)
  • Five Lectures (1969)
  • Counterrevolution and Revolt (1972) ISBN 978-0-8070-1533-9
  • The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (1978) ISBN 978-0-8070-1519-3
Essays
  • Repressive Tolerance[22] (1965)
  • Liberation[33] (1969)
  • On the Problem of the Dialectic (1976)
  • Protosocialism and Late Capitalism: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis Based on Bahro's Analysis (1980)

See also

References

  1. ^ ci.newton.ma.us Archived 2012-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  3. ^ Lemert, Charles. Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings. Westview Press, Boulder, CO. 2010.
  4. ^ "Sophie Wertheim (1901–1951)". Marcuse.org. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  5. ^ "Inge Neumann (1913–1973)". Marcuse.org. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  6. ^ "Erica Sherover-Marcuse (1938–1988)". Marcuse.org. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  7. ^ Mann, Douglas. "A Survey of Modern Social Theory". Oxford University Press. 2008.
  8. ^ Rothman, Stanley (2017). The End of the Experiment: The Rise of Cultural Elites and the Decline of America's Civic Culture. Routledge. p. 177. ISBN 9781351295628.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Douglas Kellner. "Illuminations: Kellner". Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  10. ^ Lemert, Charles (2009). Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings. Westview Press. ISBN 9780786749577.
  11. ^ Secret Reports on Nazi Germany. The Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort by Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse & Otto Kirchheimer Edited by Raffaele Laudani (Princeton University Press 2013) p. 2
  12. ^ Laudani, Secret Reports p3
  13. ^ Elliott, Anthony and Larry Ray. Key Contemporary Social Theorists. Blackwell Publishers. 2003.
  14. ^ One-Dimensional Man (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964), p. xvii
  15. ^ a b Kołakowski, Leszek (1981). Main Currents Of Marxism: Volume III, The Breakdown. Oxford University Press. p. 416. ISBN 978-0192851093.
  16. ^ a b c d Tom Bourne (Sept. 1979)
  17. ^ Stefan Meretz. "open theory · offene theorie: Protosozialismus und Spätkapitalismus. Versuch einer theoretischen Synthese von Bahros Ansatz (von Herbert Marcuse)". Opentheory.org. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  18. ^ Dufresne, Todd (2000). Tales from the Freudian Crypt: The Death Drive in Text and Context. Stanford: Stanford University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-8047-3885-9.
  19. ^ Davis, Angela (July 1971). "Rhetoric Vs. Reality: Angela Davis tells why black people should not be deceived by words". Ebony. 26 (9). Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 115–120.
  20. ^ Barsky, Robert (1997). Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 134.
  21. ^ marcuse.org (books about)
  22. ^ a b "Repressive Tolerance, by Herbert Marcuse (1965)". Marcuse.org. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  23. ^ Elliott, Anthony; Ray, Larry (2002-10-22). Key Contemporary Social Theorists – Google Books. ISBN 9780631219729. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  24. ^ Elliot, Anthony and Larry Ray. Key Contemporary Social Theorists. Blackwell Publishing. 2003.
  25. ^ Marcuse, Herbert. "On Concrete Philosophy." 1929. In Heideggerian Marxism. Eds. John Abromeit and Richard Wolin. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2005. p. 49.
  26. ^ For a thorough discussion of Marcuse's perspectives on the Marxisms of his day, see Benhabib's introduction to Hegel's Ontology. (Marcuse, Herbert. Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity. 1932. Trans. Seyla Benhabib. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987. pp. xi–xix.)
  27. ^ See, e.g., Marcuse, Herbert. Heideggerian Marxism, edited by Richard Wolin and John Abromeit, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005, pp. xi–xxx.
  28. ^ "Glossary of Terms: Ob". Marxists.org. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
  29. ^ marcuse.org (quotations)
  30. ^ a b c d e Parker, Noel; Sim, Stuart (1997). The A–Z Guide to Modern Social and Political Theorists. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 9780135248850.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  31. ^ SEP
  32. ^ Mann, Douglas. A Survey of Modern Social Theory. Oxford University Press. 2008.
  33. ^ "Book Review: Herbert Marcuse's An Essay on Liberation Herbert Marcuse's An Essay on Liberation". Marcuse.org. Retrieved 2013-09-06.

Further reading

  • John Abromeit and W. Mark Cobb, eds. (2004) Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader, New York, London: Routledge.
  • Harold Bleich (1977) The Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse, Washington: University Press of America.
  • Paul Breines (1970) Critical Interruptions: New Left Perspectives on Herbert Marcuse, New York: Herder and Herder.
  • C. Fred Alford (1985) Science and Revenge of Nature: Marcuse and Habermas, Gainesville: University of Florida Press.
  • Andrew Feenberg and William Leiss (2007) The Essential Marcuse: Selected Writings of Philosopher and Social Critic Herbert Marcuse, Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Douglas Kellner (1984). Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-520-05295-6.
  • Andrew T. Lamas, Todd Wolfson, and Peter N. Funke, eds. (2017). The Great Refusal: Herbert Marcuse and Contemporary Social Movements. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2017.
  • Raffaele Laudani (2013)(Ed) Secret Reports on Nazi Germany. The Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort by Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse & Otto Kirchheimer. Princeton University Press.
  • Herbert Marcuse (1998) Technology, War and Fascism, London: Routledge.
  • Paul Mattick (1972) Critique of Marcuse: One-dimensional man in class society Merlin Press
  • Alain Martineau (1986). Herbert Marcuse's Utopia, Harvest House, Montreal.
  • J. Michael Tilley (2011). "Herbert Marcuse: Social Critique, Haecker and Kierkegaardian Individualism" in Kierkegaard's Influence on Social-Political Thought edited by Jon Stewart.
  • Eliseo Vivas (1971). Contra Marcuse, Arlington House, New Rochelle. ISBN 0-87000-112-4
  • Anthony Elliott and Larry Ray (2003) Key Contemporary Social Theorists.
  • Charles Lemert (2010) Social Theory: the Multicultural and Classic Readings.
  • Noel Parker and Stuart Sim (1997) A-Z Guide to Modern Social and Political Theorists
  • Douglas Mann (2008). A Survey of Modern Social Theory.

External links

A Critique of Pure Tolerance

A Critique of Pure Tolerance is a 1965 book by the philosopher Robert Paul Wolff, the sociologist Barrington Moore Jr., and the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, in which the authors discuss the political role of tolerance. The book has been described as "peculiar" by commentators, and its authors have been criticized for advocating intolerance and the suppression of dissenting opinions.

An Essay on Liberation

An Essay on Liberation is a 1969 book by the Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse.

Counterrevolution and Revolt

Counterrevolution and Revolt is a 1972 book by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse.

Culture industry

The term culture industry (German: Kulturindustrie) was coined by the critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903–1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), and was presented as critical vocabulary in the chapter "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), wherein they proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods—films, radio programmes, magazines, etc.—that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity. Consumption of the easy pleasures of popular culture, made available by the mass communications media, renders people docile and content, no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. The inherent danger of the culture industry is the cultivation of false psychological needs that can only be met and satisfied by the products of capitalism; thus Adorno and Horkheimer especially perceived mass-produced culture as dangerous to the more technically and intellectually difficult high arts. In contrast, true psychological needs are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness, which refer to an earlier demarcation of human needs, established by Herbert Marcuse. (See Eros and Civilization, 1955).

Eros and Civilization

Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud (1955; second edition, 1966) is a book by the German philosopher and social critic Herbert Marcuse, in which the author proposes a non-repressive society, attempts a synthesis of the theories of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, and explores the potential of collective memory to be a source of disobedience and revolt and point the way to an alternative future. Its title alludes to Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents (1930). The 1966 edition has an added "political preface".

One of Marcuse's best known works, the book brought him international fame. Both Marcuse and many commentators have considered it his most important book, and it was seen by some commentators as an improvement over the previous attempt to synthesize Marxist and psychoanalytic theory by the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. It helped shape the subcultures of the 1960s and influenced the gay liberation movement, and with other books on Freud, such as the classicist Norman O. Brown's Life Against Death (1959) and the philosopher Paul Ricœur's Freud and Philosophy (1965), placed Freud at the center of moral and philosophical inquiry. It has been suggested that the work reveals the influence of the philosopher Martin Heidegger. Marcuse has been credited with offering a convincing critique of Neo-Freudianism. However, critics have accused him of being utopian in his objectives and of misinterpreting Freud's theories. Critics have also suggested that his objective of synthesizing Marxist and psychoanalytic theory is impossible.

Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity

Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity (German: Hegels Ontologie und die Grundlegung einer Theorie der Geschichtlichkeit) is a 1932 book about the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and his theory of historicity by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse. The book, influenced by the work of the philosopher Martin Heidegger, received positive reviews upon its publication in English translation in 1987. It is considered essential for understanding Marcuse's later intellectual development.

Historicity

Historicity is the historical actuality of persons and events, meaning the quality of being part of history as opposed to being a historical myth, legend, or fiction. Historicity focuses on the true value of knowledge claims about the past (denoting historical actuality, authenticity, and factuality). The historicity of a claim about the past is its factual status.Some theoreticians characterize historicity as a dimension of all natural phenomena that take place in space and time. Other scholars characterize it as an attribute reserved to certain human phenomena, in agreement with the practice of historiography. Herbert Marcuse explained historicity as that which “defines history and thus distinguishes it from ‘nature’ or from the ‘economy’” and “signifies the meaning we intend when we say of something that is ‘historical’.”The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy defines historicity as "denoting the feature of our human situation by which we are located in specific concrete temporal and historical circumstances." For Wilhelm Dilthey, historicity identifies human beings as unique and concrete historical beings.Questions regarding historicity concern not just the issue of "what really happened," but also the issue of how modern observers can come to know "what really happened." This second issue is closely tied to historical research practices and methodologies for analyzing the reliability of primary sources and other evidence. Because various methodologies thematize historicity differently, it's not possible to reduce historicity to a single structure to be represented. Some methodologies (for example historicism), can make historicity subject to constructions of history based on submerged value commitments.Questions of historicity are particularly relevant to partisan or poetic accounts of past events. For example, the historicity of the Iliad has become a topic of debate because later archaeological finds suggest that the work was based on some true event.

Questions of historicity also arise frequently in relation to historical studies of religion. In these cases, value commitments can influence the choice of research methodology.

In These Times

In These Times is an American politically progressive monthly magazine of news and opinion published in Chicago, Illinois.It was established as a broadsheet-format fortnightly newspaper in 1976 by James Weinstein, a lifelong socialist, with the aid of Julian Bond, Noam Chomsky and Herbert Marcuse.

It investigates alleged corporate and government wrongdoing, covers international affairs, and has a cultural section. It regularly reports on labor, economic and racial justice movements, environmental issues, feminism, grassroots democracy, minority communities, and the media.

Weinstein was the publication's founding editor and publisher; its current editor and publisher is Joel Bleifuss.

As of 2017, it had a circulation of over 50,000. As a nonprofit organization, the magazine is financed through subscriptions and donations.

Marcuse

Marcuse is a surname, and may refer to:

In philosophy:

Herbert Marcuse (1898–1979), German-American Marxist philosopher and prominent member of the Frankfurt School

Ludwig Marcuse (1894–1971), Jewish German philosopherIn other fields:

Gary Marcuse, Canadian documentary filmmaker

Harold Marcuse (born 1957), professor of modern German history at the University of California, Santa Barbara; grandson of Herbert Marcuse

Herman Marcuse (born 17 April 1919), career attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel

Irene Marcuse, American novelist; granddaughter of Herbert Marcuse

Max Marcuse (1877–1963), German dermatologist and sexologist

Peter Marcuse, professor emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University; son of Herbert Marcuse

Theo Marcuse, American character actor

Marxist aesthetics

Marxist aesthetics is a theory of aesthetics based on, or derived from, the theories of Karl Marx. It involves a dialectical and materialist, or dialectical materialist, approach to the application of Marxism to the cultural sphere, specifically areas related to taste such as art, beauty, etc. Marxists believe that economic and social conditions, and especially the class relations that derive from them, affect every aspect of an individual's life, from religious beliefs to legal systems to cultural frameworks. From one classic Marxist point of view, the role of art is not only to represent such conditions truthfully, but also to seek to improve them (social/socialist realism); however, this is a contentious interpretation of the limited but significant writing by Marx and Engels on art and especially on aesthetics. For instance, Nikolay Chernyshevsky, who greatly influenced the art of the early Soviet Union, followed the secular humanism of Ludwig Feuerbach more than he followed Marx.

Marxist aesthetics overlaps with the Marxist theory of art. It is particularly concerned with art practice, with the prescribing of artistic standards that are deemed socially beneficial. This materialist and socialist orientation may be seen to invoke (however problematically) the traditional aims of scientific inquiry and the scientific method.

Some notable Marxist aestheticians include Anatoly Lunacharsky, Mikhail Lifshitz, William Morris, Theodor W. Adorno, Bertolt Brecht, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukács, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Louis Althusser, Jacques Rancière, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Raymond Williams. Roland Barthes must also be mentioned here.

Not all of these figures are solely concerned with aesthetics: in many cases, Marxist aesthetics forms only an important branch of their work, depending on how one defines the term. For example, a Marxist aesthetic may be latent in Brecht's work, but he formulated his own distinct theory of art and its social purpose.

One of the chief concerns of Marxist aesthetics is to unite Marx and Engels’ social and economic theory, or theory of the social base, to the domain of art and culture, the superstructure. These two terms, base and superstructure, became an important dichotomy in The German Ideology (1846), which however was not published during their lifetimes. Likewise Marx's early Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, which, though widely regarded as important for treating the themes of sensuousness and alienation, first appeared only in 1932 (the slated 1846 publication was canceled) and in English only in 1959. The manuscripts were therefore unknown to art theorists during, for instance, the often antagonistic debates on art in the early Soviet Union between the constructivist avant garde and the proponents of socialist realism. The controversy over the unusual design of the original documents adds another twist.Many theorists touch upon important themes of Marxist aesthetics without strictly being Marxist aestheticians, Joel Kovel, for instance, has extended the concepts of Marxian ecology which deeply implicates aesthetics. He is also a part of the struggle to bridge the space between Marx and Freud, which has Marxist aesthetics as a central concern. Current themes within the field include research on the effect of mass-produced industrial materials on the sensed environment, such as paints and colors. A strong current within the field involves linguistics and semiotics, and arguments over structuralism and post-structuralism, modernism and post-modernism, as well as feminist theory.

Visual artists, as diverse as Isaak Brodsky or Diego Rivera and Kasimir Malevich or Lyubov Popova, for example, for whom written theory is secondary, nevertheless may be said to be connected to Marxist aesthetics through their production of art, without necessarily declaring themselves aestheticians or Marxists in writing. Likewise, in this spirit Oscar Wilde, Dziga Vertov, Sergei Eisenstein, Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, Pablo Picasso, Richard Paul Lohse, for example. Such a view could apply to many visual and other artists in many fields, even those who have no apparent and/or voiced connection to Marxist politics or even those ostensibly opposed; in this respect consider Anton Webern.

Probably it would be fair to say that two of the most influential writings in Marxist aesthetics in recent times, and apart from Marx himself and Lukacs, have been Walter Benjamin's essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and Herbert Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man. Louis Althusser has also contributed some small but significant essays on art and his theory of ideology also impacts in this area ("Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses").

The field remains polemical, with camps of modernists, post modernists, anti modernists, the avant garde, constructivists, social realists and socialist realists all referencing back to an ostensible Marxist aesthetic theory that would underpin their art practices by grounding an art theory.

Neo-Marxism

Neo-Marxism encompasses 20th-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, typically by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions such as critical theory, psychoanalysis, or existentialism (in the case of Jean-Paul Sartre).

An example of the syncretism in neo-Marxist theory is Erik Olin Wright's theory of contradictory class locations which incorporates Weberian sociology, critical criminology and anarchism. As with many uses of the prefix neo-, some theorists and groups designated as neo-Marxist have attempted to supplement the perceived deficiencies of orthodox Marxism or dialectical materialism. Many prominent neo-Marxists, such as Herbert Marcuse and other members of the Frankfurt School, have historically been sociologists and psychologists.

Neo-Marxism comes under the broader framework of the New Left. In a sociological sense, neo-Marxism adds Max Weber's broader understanding of social inequality such as status and power to Marxist philosophy. Examples of neo-Marxism include critical theory, analytical Marxism and French structural Marxism.

One-Dimensional Man

One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society is a 1964 book by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, in which the author offers a wide-ranging critique of both contemporary capitalism and the Communist society of the Soviet Union, documenting the parallel rise of new forms of social repression in both these societies, as well as the decline of revolutionary potential in the West. He argues that "advanced industrial society" created false needs, which integrated individuals into the existing system of production and consumption via mass media, advertising, industrial management, and contemporary modes of thought.This results in a "one-dimensional" universe of thought and behaviour, in which aptitude and ability for critical thought and oppositional behaviour wither away. Against this prevailing climate, Marcuse promotes the "great refusal" (described at length in the book) as the only adequate opposition to all-encompassing methods of control. Much of the book is a defense of "negative thinking" as a disrupting force against the prevailing positivism.Marcuse also analyzes the integration of the industrial working class into capitalist society and new forms of capitalist stabilization, thus questioning the Marxian postulates of the revolutionary proletariat and the inevitability of capitalist crisis. In contrast to orthodox Marxism, Marcuse champions non-integrated forces of minorities, outsiders, and radical intelligentsia, attempting to nourish oppositional thought and behavior through promoting radical thinking and opposition. He considers the trends towards bureaucracy in supposedly Marxist countries to be as oppositional to freedom as those in the capitalist West.One-Dimensional Man was the book that made Marcuse famous.

Philosophy of happiness

The philosophy of happiness is the philosophical concern with the existence, nature, and attainment of happiness. Philosophers believe happiness can be understood as the moral goal of life or as an aspect of chance; indeed, in most European languages the term happiness is synonymous with luck. Thus, philosophers usually explicate on happiness as either a state of mind, or a life that goes well for the person leading it.

Reason and Revolution

Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory is a 1941 book by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, in which the author discusses the social theories of the philosophers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx. Marcuse reinterprets Hegel, with the aim of demonstrating that Hegel's basic concepts are hostile to the tendencies that led to fascism.

The book has received praise as an important discussion of Hegel and Marx.

Repressive desublimation

Repressive desublimation is a term first coined by philosopher and sociologist Herbert Marcuse in his 1964 work One-Dimensional Man, that refers to the way in which, in advanced industrial society (capitalism), "the progress of technological rationality is liquidating the oppositional and transcending elements in the “higher culture.” In other words, where art was previously a way to represent "that which is" from "that which is not," capitalist society causes the "flattening out" of art into a commodity incorporated into society itself. As Marcuse put it in One-Dimensional Man, "The music of the soul is also the music of salesmanship."

By offering instantaneous, rather than mediated, gratifications, repressive desublimation was considered by Marcuse to remove the energies otherwise available for a social critique; and thus to function as a conservative force under the guise of liberation.

The Aesthetic Dimension

The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (German: Die Permanenz der Kunst: Wider eine bestimmte marxistische Ästhetik) is a 1977 book on aesthetics by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, in which the author provides an account of modern art's political implications and relationship with society at large.

It is the final major work by Marcuse, a founding member of the Frankfurt School. The book is also noteworthy as a demarcation of Marcuse's split with Marxism via his rejection of Marxist aesthetics.

The Making of a Counter Culture

The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition is a work of non-fiction by Theodore Roszak originally published in 1969.

Roszak "first came to public prominence in 1969, with the publication of his The Making of a Counterculture" which chronicled and gave explanation to the European and North American counterculture of the 1960s. The term "counterculture" was first used by Roszak in this book.The Making of a Counter Culture "captured a huge audience of Vietnam War protesters, dropouts, and rebels--and their baffled elders. Theodore Roszak found common ground between 1960s student radicals and hippie dropouts in their mutual rejection of what he calls the technocracy--the regime of corporate and technological expertise that dominates industrial society. He traces the intellectual underpinnings of the two groups in the writings of Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown, Allen Ginsberg and Paul Goodman."

Value engineering

Value engineering (VE) is a systematic method to improve the "value" of goods or products and services by using an examination of function. Value, as defined, is the ratio of function to cost. Value can therefore be manipulated by either improving the function or reducing the cost. It is a primary tenet of value engineering that basic functions be preserved and not be reduced as a consequence of pursuing value improvements.The reasoning behind value engineering is as follows: if marketers expect a product to become practically or stylistically obsolete within a specific length of time, they can design it to only last for that specific lifetime. The products could be built with higher-grade components, but with value engineering they are not because this would impose an unnecessary cost on the manufacturer, and to a limited extent also an increased cost on the purchaser. Value engineering will reduce these costs. A company will typically use the least expensive components that satisfy the product's lifetime projections.

Due to the very short life spans, however, which is often a result of this "value engineering technique", planned obsolescence has become associated with product deterioration and inferior quality. Vance Packard once claimed this practice gave engineering as a whole a bad name, as it directed creative engineering energies toward short-term market ends. Philosophers such as Herbert Marcuse and Jacque Fresco have also criticized the economic and societal implications of this model.

Value engineering is the structural and analytical process that seeks to achieve the value for money.

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