Jean L. Cohen's Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical PDF

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By Jean L. Cohen

ISBN-10: 0870233807

ISBN-13: 9780870233807

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Gouldner's simple little book is the most faithful to the classic historical materialist theory of revolution and class. It deviates from the original only insofar as the class agent of the anticapitalist project is concerned. Indeed, it is quite reasonable to be confused as to whether the new intellectual class substitutes for the bourgeoisie or the proletariat in this analysis. 31 The intentions of the book are clear in one respect, however: Gouldner wants to dispense once and for all with any claims of intellectuals (specifically Marxists) to selflessly represent the interests of other strata.

Although these approaches tend to succeed one another historically, my interest is not in their genesis but in the type of theorizing and specific Marxian presuppositions inherent in each. 1. The search for a substitute revolutionary subject to play the role formerly assigned to the proletariat and to lead or otherwise activate the former, is a telling witness to the crisis of Marxism. The work of Herbert Marcuse provides the paradigm for this approach. Marcuse's theory of one-dimensional society must be seen as a response to the "failure" of the proletariat to become revolutionary and the success of advanced capitalism in reproducing itself.

If the central weakness of Marx's vision is the occlusion of the positive achievements of modern civil society that are still well worth defending, he was the peerless critic of the negativity and ever-present dangers of the historically given form of this society. , social antagonism, by showing the reasons for the modern state's violation of its own principles, by retracing the journey of domination and hierarchy from the polity to the factory, Marx has quite evidently left us an unsurpassed model for critical thinking.

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Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical Theory by Jean L. Cohen


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