The Catastrophe of Liberation: Alienation and Today’s Struggles

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC36 Alienation Theory and Research (host committee)

Language: English

Social movements today, which combine new technologies with protests, resemble the demonstrations of the 1960s in some respects, mainly because of the participation of alienated youth. In some places these protesters are against their government and their economy, and in most places they are against the system itself, struggling to change the way of life. These tendencies are very clear in the feminist movement, which is strongly against male domination and the reification of the body. But even though all of these movements and social groups are opposed to the system, they are not revolutionary, not because of their size, but because of their confused ideas. While they are only vaguely aware of where they want to go and the type of future they want, the conservatives in power, who may even be fascists that remind us of the period on the eve of Second World War, seek to participate in movements and demonstrations with general slogans in the attempt to prevent such changes as same-sex marriage, abortion, opposition to rape, and so forth. We need to remember that if we are living in a revolutionary era, not only is counterrevolution also a reality, it may indeed be the dominant trope of the moment to come. We need to resurrect and rethink certain fundamental insights regarding the causes and consequences of alienation, particularly those pioneered by such critical theorists as Horkheimer, Adorno, Fromm, and Marcuse, in order to understand the contemporary contradictions that impel both liberation and counterrevolution.
Session Organizer:
Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, USA
Lauren LANGMAN, Loyola University of Chicago, USA
Oral Presentations
Marxism and Existentialism in the Age of the Anthropocene
Brad HORNICK, Simon Fraser University, Canada