From Alienation to Critical Theory, Past, Present and Future.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Seminar 34 (Juridicum)
RC36 Alienation Theory and Research (host committee)

Language: English

The discovery of the 1844 Manuscripts had a major impact on Marxist theory, then dominated by an economistic reductionism. Following Korsch and Lukacs, Marx’s critique of alienation made a strong case for understanding the importance of culture within the critique of domination. This would become central for the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory; indeed Marcuse was one of the first to comment on the manuscripts. Culture was seen as crucial in the emergence of capitalism, its ascendance, and its reproduction over time, notwithstanding the immisseration so engendered. 
The first generation, especially Marcuse, Fromm, Horkheimer and Adorno, focused on the legacy of Hegel who first used the term, the critique of domination, and concerns with dispositions to fascism, the resonance of its propaganda, the power of its spectacles and eventually Naziism, war and genocide. After WWII, the concerns shifted to the nature of alienation and consumerism, mass media and mass culture. 
By the 1960s however, as the next generation of Critical Theorists emerged, especially with Habermas, there was a move from political economy to language and a more systematic communication model of society. This trend would continue in the next generation, especially in the work of Honneth and his students that have moved completely away from a critique of capitalism or the psychodynamics of character and consciousness that have been colonized by mass culture/mass consumption to reproduce domination. 
This session will attempt to rethink the importance and centrality of the classic formulations of alienation and their relevance to the current age.
Session Organizer:
Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, USA
The Loss of Alienation in Contemporary Critical Theory
Michael THOMPSON, William Paterson University, USA
The Critique of Instrumental Reason As Alienated Reason
Gregory ZUCKER, Rutgers University, USA
Spatialities of Alienation: Deskilling and Precarious Labor in 21st Century London
Riad AZAR, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom