Dialectical tensions: Marcuse, Dunayevskaya and the problems of the age

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Gerber, Damian
Brincat, Shannon
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2016
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There has been a resurgence of interest in the work of Raya Dunayevskaya and Herbert Marcuse, particularly regarding their shared concern with humanism and dialectics. Recent edited collections on Dunayevskaya’s correspondence have, however, drawn a sharp contrast between the conceptions of the dialectical method: Dunayesvkaya, who emphasized the need for ‘philosophic new beginnings’ to offer a new relationship between theory and practice, and Herbert Marcuse who, despite his piercing identification of the one-dimensionality of late capitalism, continued with a problematic basis in (orthodox) Marxist categories. In this review essay, we outline the latest of these two volumes and its distinct contributions before engaging in a critique of Marcuse’s restrictions on humanism and dialectics, via a comparison with Dunayevskaya’s dialectical approach that was premised on questioning ‘the problems of the age’ and emphasized the open and negative polarity of dialectical possibilities.

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Thesis Eleven

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134

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1

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Political Science not elsewhere classified

Studies in Human Society

Language, Communication and Culture

Philosophy and Religious Studies

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