- (1885–1971)One of the foremost Marxist intellectuals of the 20th century and one of the most important and influential contributors to Marxist theory. Lukács interpreted Karl Marx from a Hegelian perspective, emphasizing the influence of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel on Marx and drawing out the humanism of Marx’s thought. Of particular note is his advancement of a political theory of alienation and reification, a sociological theory of class consciousness, a theory of aesthetics and significant contributions to the development of Marxist literary criticism. Lukács is one of the giants of Western Marxism and a key influence on the Frankfurt School.Born in Budapest, Hungary, Lukács studied in Berlin, Budapest, Heidelberg and Moscow, gaining three doctorates in the course of his studies. In 1918 he joined the Hungarian Communist Party and in 1919 he became people’s commissar for education and culture in the short-lived communist Hungarian Republic of Councils. After its collapse he fled the country, a death sentence being passed on him in his absence. He then lived in Austria and Germany before emigrating to Moscow in 1933 after the Nazis came to power in Germany. During his years of exile he wrote prolifically, including his brilliant theoretical work History and Class Consciousness in 1923. Condemned at the time by the Comintern, it has subsequently become acknowledged as an outstanding piece of political theory and a classic of Marxist writing. A further notable work from this period was his Lenin: A Study on the Unity of His Thought (1924). Lukács returned to Hungary in 1945 where he again wrote extensively and was very active in the fields of culture and politics, founding the cultural journal Forum. Vehemently attacked by the politically dominant Hungarian Stalinists, Lukács retreated into philosophical studies until the 1956 uprising and brief government of Imre Nagy under whom Lukács served as minister of culture. The defeat of Nagy’s government by the intervention of Soviet troops saw Lukács deported to Rumania. He was allowed to return in 1957 and his most significant achievements in the final period of his life were major works on aesthetics, The Specific Nature of the Aesthetic (1962), and on social ontology, Towards an Ontology of Social Being (1971). He died in Budapest in 1971.Lukács’ intellectual contributions include the significant concept of reification. By this Lukács means the process of dehumanization where human beings become mere “things” subject to social forces beyond their control. We become governed by a system composed of things we created that become independent of us, and this system is centered around the commodity, the characteristic feature of capitalism. According to Lukács, the whole of capitalist society is permeated by reification, with human beings losing their essential humanity as the logic of the system, its seemingly unalterable laws, strips us of our imagination, creativity and spirituality. Efficiency, rationality and profit govern both the system of production and the social system as a whole, making the masses passive and less than fully human. However, influenced by Hegel Lukács adopts an optimistic teleological view of the future, putting his faith in the proletariat as the agent of revolution and seeing history as moving toward communism, directed by an inner logic.As well as the notion of teleology and historical progress, Lukács also drew from Hegel the notion of “totality.” All parts of reality are interconnected in a whole and the parts can only be understood in relation to this whole, this totality. We must grasp this totality (this is the point of Marx’s method of analysis), and in understanding the totality we will change reality as part of a single process. Theory and practice constitute a unity; we understand as we act upon the world and our understanding directs our actions. The proletariat stands at the end of a long process of dialectical development, uniquely placed to grasp the totality, and Marxism represents the truth or meaning of the totality, the key to understanding history. Proletarian class consciousness, that only exists as potential in capitalism, will develop to express the same essential truth found in Marxism.
Historical dictionary of Marxism. David Walker and Daniel Gray . 2014.
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EUROPEAN MARXISM — Early European Marxism: Orthodoxy and Revisionism ■ Abraham, R. Rosa Luxemburg. A Life for the International. Oxford: Berg, 1989. ■ Basso, L. Rosa Luxemburg. A Reappraisal. London: Deutsch, 1975. ■ Bebel, August. Woman Under Socialism. New… … Historical dictionary of Marxism
Goldmann, Lucien — (1913–1970) Goldmann followed in the footsteps of Georgii Lukács in expounding a form of Hegelian Marxism that placed great emphasis on dialectics, though he also advanced his own notion of “genetic structuralism.” He was born in Bucharest,… … Historical dictionary of Marxism
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History of a Movement — In commenting on the history of a word something of the history of the movement has been indicated. In providing a little more of this history the geographical starting point must be Europe and, in particular, Germany. Initially, Marxism had… … Historical dictionary of Marxism
Ideology — In the Communist Manifesto (1848) Karl Marx writes, “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas,” and this is a key aspect of his theory of ideology. For Marx ideology is both a distorted view of reality and a view that… … Historical dictionary of Marxism
Praxis — The term praxis means practice or activity, but its use is intended within Marxism to denote something more than this. For Karl Marx, in the first place it denotes the activity by which human beings distinguish themselves from other creatures … Historical dictionary of Marxism
Scientific socialism — One of the preferred terms of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to describe the form of socialism they put forward. This term was particularly used to distinguish Marx’s socialism from the unscientific, utopian socialism of Robert Owen, Charles… … Historical dictionary of Marxism
List of philosophy topics (I-Q) — II and thou I Ching I Ching I proposition I Thou I Thou relationshipIaIamblichus (philosopher)IbYahya Ibn Adi Yahya Ibn Adi Ibn al Arabi Muhyi al Din Ibn al Arabi Abu Bakr Ibn Bajja Abu Bakr Ibn Bājja Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Yahya Ibn as Say igh… … Wikipedia
Reification — The term reification is linked to the notions of alienation and commodity fetishism. It refers to the idea that human qualities, relations, actions and even human beings themselves are transformed in the course of capitalist production into… … Historical dictionary of Marxism
Bibliography — INTRODUCTION The number of books dedicated to the late Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its successor state, the Russian Federation, is virtually incalculable. This surfeit is due to a number of factors: Russia’s geographic size and … Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation