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Lebowitz, Lukács and Postone: Subjectivity in Capital

Jackson, RP (2017) Lebowitz, Lukács and Postone: Subjectivity in Capital. Science and Society, 81 (2). pp. 248-278. ISSN 0036-8237


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The works of Michael Lebowitz and Moishe Postone express the potentials and difficulties of re-actualizing in contemporary conditions the approach towards subjectivity in Capital pioneered by Lukács in History and Class Consciousness. Lebowitz and Postone each develop ideas consonant with the “antinomies” within Lukács’ thought: his wager on the proletariat and his theory of reification respectively. However, both thinkers overlook the intimate relationship between ideological crisis and subjectivity in HCC, indicating that the conceptual productivity of Lukács’ thought has not yet been exhausted. This insight suggests manifold connections with recent efforts by radical philosophers, such as Negri, Badiou and Žižek, to articulate the possibility of an emancipatory project to overcome capitalism. The theoretical strong suits of a Lukácsian framework (locating the historical specificity of capitalist society, providing a philosophy of process, the re-politicization of political economy) remain under-explored resources for mitigating the difficulties confronting these ruptural conceptions of subjectivity.

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