International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Volume | Article


Immediacy and experience in Lukács's theory of reification

Iaan Reynolds

pp. 89-120


This paper studies the relationship between consciousness and social existence in Georg Lukács’ early Marxist works through a consideration of his concept of reification. Understanding reification as the process underlying capitalist society’s immediate form of objectivity, I designate dereification as the cultivation of a mediated form of consciousness. In order to better understand the experiential aspects of this cultivation, I supplement my reading of Lukács’ theory of reification with attention to Walter Benjamin’s treatment of experience in capitalist society. I argue that Benjamin’s distinction between experience as the shock of isolated events [Erlebnis] and experience as a long-term practice [Erfahrung] helpfully illuminates Lukács’ conception of dereification, allowing us to see the latter as a long process of cultivation. This account ultimately leads to a consideration of the formal role played by the party – as the facilitator of the working class’s self-education – in Lukács’ philosophy of social praxis.

Publication details

Published in:

Jurga Saulius, Kavoulakos Konstantinos (2021) Reification. Metodo 9 (2).

Pages: 89-120

DOI: 10.19079/metodo.9.2.89

Full citation:

Reynolds Iaan (2021) „Immediacy and experience in Lukács's theory of reification“. Metodo 9 (2), 89–120.