Frankfurt School

Prof. Martin E. Jay: “We all, alas, live in a war zone now”

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Prof. Martin E. Jay. DR.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: You wrote “Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukacs to Habermas”. Why, in your opinion, has totality been at the center of the thought of early Marxist philosophers such as Lukács, Korsch, Gramsci and Bloch?

Prof. Martin E. Jay: The category of totality, whose importance for Marxist theory Lukács emphasized in History and Class Consciousness (1923), was introduced to overcome the exaggerated role given to the economy by traditional, Second International Marxism. Although under capitalism, the economy as a distinct sub-sphere of society as a whole did play an exorbitant role, it was never simply a “base” or “substructure” on which a “superstructure” of culture, politics, religion, etc. was entirely dependent. Even more importantly, in the transition away from capitalism, which the theorists you mention hoped was actually happening, the relative autonomy of culture and politics within the totality of social relations would grow. Lire la suite »