The Past, Present and Future in the Perspective of Dialectical Theory

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 17:40
Location: Seminar 34 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Dmitry IVANOV, St.Petersburg state university, Russia
The dialectical negation and utopianism have enabled Marcuse to reveal the direction of modern society transformation. Utopia of ‘Reason’ in the 1930s was oriented to revolutionary movements. By the 1940s the rationalization thesis became affirmative discourse for organized capitalism, and utopia of ‘Eros’ became dialectical antithesis extracted from alternative values and life-styles of esthetic communities and hedonistic subcultures of radical intellectuals. By the 1960s the concept of desublimation became affirmative for consumerist capitalism, and dialectical synthesis of ‘Reason’ and ‘Eros’ in the utopia of ‘Post-technological rationality’ promoted new social movements: antiwar, feminist, ecologist, for civil rights of minorities. Since the 1990s post-technological rationality is affirmative discourse for postindustrial capitalism.

Marcuse’s works provide us with model of social change through dialectical negation: marginal groups and utopian movements oppressed by dominant structures of the present are protagonists of the future dominant structures and patterns of agency. Our present is postindustrial capitalism based on virtualization of production and consumption. Social life is alienated into virtual realities of branding, image making, and digital networking. Intensive commodification of images leads to triviality of the virtualization strategy and provokes shift of competitive advantages to hyper-virtuality of glamour. Being since the 1930s specific aesthetic form, glamour has become now rationality of the newest version of capitalism. Glam-capitalism raises as products in hyper-competitive markets must be aggressively attractive and entrepreneurs must extract profits more from trends than from brands.  

Dialectical negation now is driven by movements representing the new utopia: authenticity revolt against hyper-virtuality of glamour. ‘Pirates’, ‘anonymous’ hackers and activists of ‘occupy’ movements violate ‘intellectual’ property rights of glam-capitalism and rules of glam-democracy. Reaction of glam-capitalists to alter-social movements is initially oppression and then absorption of them as sources of creativity. Creators of trends converging patterns of glam-capitalism and alter-social movements are on the move towards alter-capitalism.