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Rethinking Reification: MARCUSE, PSYCHOANALYSIS, AND GAY LIBERATION

Rethinking Reification: MARCUSE, PSYCHOANALYSIS, AND GAY LIBERATION Page 103 Rethinking Reification M A R C U S E , P S Y C H O A N A LY S I S , A N D G AY L I B E R AT I O N In his 1937 essay “The Affirmative Character of Culture,” Herbert Marcuse proposed — in an almost offhand manner, and without addressing the implications of this claim for any larger Marxist tradition — that “in suffering the most extreme reification man triumphs over reification”: a triumph, he suggested, which was of a specifically erotic character.1 Early in his career, Marcuse used the category of reification in an unusually multivalent way, a way that has significant implications, I will argue, both for the Marxist tradition and for modern forms of antiheteronormative politics. Marcuse’s deployment of this category — which constitutes a striking contrast with its more univocal sense in the work of his Western Marxist predecessors, including Georg Lukács, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno — would take its most sustained theoretical form almost twenty years later, in Eros and Civilization, and would ultimately be indissociable from his investment in Freudian psychoanalysis. Over this twenty-year span, both before and during his http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Text Duke University Press

Rethinking Reification: MARCUSE, PSYCHOANALYSIS, AND GAY LIBERATION

Social Text , Volume 19 (1 66) – Mar 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0164-2472
eISSN
1527-1951
DOI
10.1215/01642472-19-1_66-103
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Page 103 Rethinking Reification M A R C U S E , P S Y C H O A N A LY S I S , A N D G AY L I B E R AT I O N In his 1937 essay “The Affirmative Character of Culture,” Herbert Marcuse proposed — in an almost offhand manner, and without addressing the implications of this claim for any larger Marxist tradition — that “in suffering the most extreme reification man triumphs over reification”: a triumph, he suggested, which was of a specifically erotic character.1 Early in his career, Marcuse used the category of reification in an unusually multivalent way, a way that has significant implications, I will argue, both for the Marxist tradition and for modern forms of antiheteronormative politics. Marcuse’s deployment of this category — which constitutes a striking contrast with its more univocal sense in the work of his Western Marxist predecessors, including Georg Lukács, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno — would take its most sustained theoretical form almost twenty years later, in Eros and Civilization, and would ultimately be indissociable from his investment in Freudian psychoanalysis. Over this twenty-year span, both before and during his

Journal

Social TextDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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