This book explores the tradition, impact, and contemporary relevance of two key ideas from Western Marxism: Georg Lukács's concept of reification, in which social aspects of humanity are viewed in objectified terms, and Guy Debord's concept of the spectacle, where the world is packaged and presented to consumers in uniquely mediated ways. Bringing the original, yet now often forgotten, theoretical contexts for these terms back to the fore, Johan Hartle and Samir Gandesha offer a new look at the importance of Western Marxism from its early days to the present moment-and reveal why Marxist cultural critique must continue to play a vital role in any serious sociological analysis of contemporary society.
Samir Gandesha is an Associate Professor and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. He is co-editor with Lars Rensmann of Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford, 2012) and has published articles in several collected volumes, as well as in journals such as New German Critique, Thesis Eleven, Political Theory, The European Legacy, and the European Journal of Social Theory.
Johan Hartle is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Art and Culture at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), leader of the Research cluster Globalization and Aesthetics at the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies (ACGS) and Adjunct Professor for Aesthetics at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China. He was visiting research fellow at Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Centre for German Jewish Studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem and Humboldt Research Fellow at the Universitá Roma Tre.