Ecogovernmentality, also spelled Eco-governmentality is a term used to denote the application of Foucault’s concepts of biopower and governmentality to the analysis of the regulation of social interactions with the natural world. Begun in the mid 1990s by a small body of theorists (Luke, Darier, and Rutherford) the literature on ecogovernmentality grew as a response to the perceived lack of Foucauldian analysis of environmentalism and in environmental studies.
Following Michel Foucault, writing on ecogovernmentality focuses on how government agencies, in combination with producers of expert knowledge, construct “The Environment.” This construction is viewed both in terms of the creation of an object of knowledge and a sphere within which certain types of intervention and management are created and deployed to further the government’s larger aim of managing the lives of its constituents. This governmental management is dependent on the dissemination and internalization of knowledge/power among individual actors. This creates a decentered network of self-regulating elements whose interests become integrated with those of the State.
Ecogovernmentality is part of the broader area of political ecology. It can be situated within the ongoing debates over how to balance concern with socio-natural relationships with attention to the actual environmental impact of specific interactions. The term is most useful to authors like Bryant, Watts and Peet who argue for the importance of a phenomenology of nature that builds from post-structuralist concerns with knowledge, power and discourse. In addition, it is of particular use to geographers because of its ability to link place based socio-environmental phenomena with the non-place based influences of both national and international systems of governance. Particularly, for studies of environmental changes that extend beyond the borders one particular region, ecogovernmentality can prove a useful analytical tool for tracing the manifestations of specific policy across scales ranging from the individual, the community, the state and on to larger structures of international environmental governance.
Work done by Rutherford, on US Environmental Impact Assessments, and by Agrawal on local forest governance in India, are examples of this method of analysis. Both illustrate how the production of specific types of expert knowledge (statistical models of pollution, or the economic productivity of forests) coupled with specific technologies of government (the EIA assessment regime or local Forest Stewardship Councils) can bring individual interest in line with those of the state. This, not through the imposition of specific outcomes, but by creating frameworks that rationalizes behavior in particular ways and involve individuals in the process of problem definition and intervention.
Within a geographical context, this type of analysis provides insight into how territory is brought under state control, and how the regulation of human interaction with this territory is achieved. Focusing on the evolution of techniques of cartography, systems of natural classification, and early attempts at scientific resource management in the 18th and 19th centuries, Braun (2000, 2003) and Scott (1998) show how new systems of knowledge extend systems of governmentality into the natural world. Fundamental to this analysis is a connection between the abstract utilitarian logic employed by states and the shape of the territory under their control. In Scott, for example, measuring nature in terms of concepts of production and natural resources “allowed the state to impose that logic on the very reality that was observed” (Scott, 14). The complex natural systems of a given place are first depicted as simplified sites of managed resource extraction. As part of this management their ecological composition is changed (through types of planting, harvesting and extraction) in an attempt to make them resemble more closely the simplified statistical systems with which they are measured.
In this manifestation, which focuses primarily on the administration of particular resources at a national level, ecogovernmentality is linked to the larger governmental aims identified by Foucault of securing the wellbeing of its inhabitants by managing “a complex composed of men and things” (93). Scott’s work on scientific forestry in early modern Europe shows how the rational models constructed by state foresters were part of the larger body of statistical knowledge created to manage population and facilitate “taxation, political control, and [[[conscription]]” (23). Likewise, Braun’s analysis of the Geological Survey of Canada creates a clear link between methods of measuring and representing the mineral composition of a territory, and the structures of government put in place both to create the concept of a unified nation and “to manage individuals, goods and wealth so as to improve the condition of the state’s population” (27).
Here, ecogovernmentality is seen as a subset of concerns within of the larger Foucauldian concept. But implicit in this is an important claim: that the types of knowledge produced in the process of making nature intelligible to the state have an important influence on the evolution of state rationality itself, an influence not adequately covered in Foucault’s original formulation. They seek to add to Foucault’s discussion of population and the operation of systems of knowledge/power that normalized certain ways of acting and being and marginalized others. Building on Foucault’s brief references to “resources, means of subsistence [and] the territory with its specific qualities”(93), their contribution is the investigation of the parallel systems of measuring and assigning value to the natural world (the “crop” and the “weed” (Scott, 13) acting as homologies to categories like “sanity” and “insanity” in Foucault’s work) and to give these their due in discussions of the formation of state rationality and structures of governmentality.
The work of Timothy Luke pushes the reach of this concept further, by envisaging a radically different relationship between governmentality and ecogovernmentality. He argues that the ecological domain has become the “ultimate domain of being”(150) the key location for the production of knowledge and power. Following Foucault, Luke traces this transformation back to a specific historical moment, the period of the early 70s encompassing the oil crisis and the détente between the USSR and the US. From these beginnings, environmental considerations grow, fertilized during the 1980s by the formation of international bodies, like the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, and increased concern and awareness over ecological limits to human development. The end result is the “environmentalization” of the production and exercise of knowledge and power. Reversing the earlier focus on the integration of environmental knowledge into broader state projects of socio-economic management, here it is these projects themselves which are reshaped by new forms of environmental knowledge (specifically the concepts of “ecology” and “sustainability”). It is this new structure that becomes known as Ecogovernmentality.
Luke argues that heightened awareness of social vulnerability to environmental factors coupled with the increased importance of macro-economic competition (rather than Cold-War military confrontation) in geo-political power struggles led to the rise of sustainable development as the synthesis of these two interrelated concerns. The disciplinary power of governmentality is refigured as “enviro-discipline”, a broader concept that “expresses the authority of eco-knowledgeable, geo-powered forces to police the fitness of all biological organisms and the health of their natural environments” (146). This constitutes an important expansion of the object of governmental rule and the area to be managed. Foucault’s focus on “population” now includes “all of life’s biodiversity” (Luke, 122) and, given the interconnected nature of environmental systems, states must now seek to extend their control far outside of their territorial boundaries to ensure the security and productivity of their population (Luke 134).
Uniting both broad and narrow definitions of Ecogovernmentality is the attention paid to environmental subject formation, or the creation of environmental subject positions. Definitions of these subject positions vary from Darrier’s (1999) construction of the environmental subject as a site for resistance to consumerism and the commodification of the relationship between the individual and the environment, through Agrawal’s broadly neutral concept of “environmentality” which denotes an acceptance on the part of the individual that nature is an object to be managed and their accompanying involvement in this process, to Luke’s (1999) assertion that “the environment emerges as a ground for normalizing individual behavior” that supersedes the previous influences of “the ethical concerns of family, community and nation” (149). Underlying these divergent definitions, is the common claim that the relationship between individual and environment is key to current analysis of systems of state management and governmentality.
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Marx's theory of alienation (Entfremdung in German), as expressed in the writings of the young Karl Marx (in particular the Manuscripts of 1844), refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony. In the concept's most important use, it refers to the social alienation of people from aspects of their "human nature" (Gattungswesen, usually translated as 'species-essence' or 'species-being'). He believed that alienation is a systematic result of capitalism.
Marx's theory relies on Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity (1841), which argues that the idea of God has alienated the characteristics of the human being. Stirner would take the analysis further in The Ego and Its Own (1844), declaring that even 'humanity' is an alienating ideal for the individual, to which Marx and Engels responded in The German Ideology (1845).
According to the Marx's Theory of Alienation, alienation is a systematic result of capitalism. Marx's Theory of Alienation is based upon his observation that in emerging industrial production under capitalism, workers inevitably lose control of their lives and selves, in not having any control of their work. Workers never become autonomous, self-realized human beings in any significant sense, except the way the bourgeois want the worker to be realized. Alienation in capitalist societies occurs because in work each contributes to the common wealth, but can only express this fundamentally social aspect of individuality through a production system that is not publicly(socially) owned, but privately owned, for which each individual functions as an instrument, not as a social being:
'Let us suppose that we had carried out production as human beings. Each of us would have in two ways affirmed himself and the other person. 1) In my production I would have objectified my individuality, its specific character, and therefore enjoyed not only an individual manifestation of my life during the activity, but also when looking at the object I would have the individual pleasure of knowing my personality to be objective, visible to the senses and hence a power beyond all doubt. 2) In your enjoyment or use of my product I would have the direct enjoyment both of being conscious of having satisfied a human need by my work, that is, of having objectified man’s essential nature, and of having thus created an object corresponding to the need of another man’s essential nature. ... Our products would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature.'" (Comment on James Mill)
Marx attributes four types of alienation in labour under capitalism. These include the alienation of the worker from his or her ‘species essence’ as a human being rather than a machine; between workers, since capitalism reduces labour to a commodity to be traded on the market, rather than a social relationship; of the worker from the product, since this is appropriated by the capitalist class, and so escapes the worker's control; and from the act of production itself, such that work comes to be a meaningless activity, offering little or no intrinsic satisfactions.
Marx also put emphasis on the role of religion in the alienation process, independently from his famous quote on the opium of the masses.
Simply put and taken directly from George Ritzer's: "Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Roots", the four types of alienation of workers from capitalist/owners are: -Activities of the workers are chosen by the owners, capitalist; who in return pay them. -Ownership of production/product in hands of capitalist. -Workers are likely to be separated from their fellow workers. -Workers driven away from their potential and tasks become mindless.
Alienation is a foundational claim in Marxist theory. Hegel described a succession of historic stages in the human Geist (Spirit), by which that Spirit progresses towards perfect self-understanding, and away from ignorance. In Marx's reaction to Hegel, these two, idealist poles are replaced with materialist categories: spiritual ignorance becomes alienation, and the transcendent end of history becomes man's realisation of his species-being; triumph over alienation and establishment of an objectively better society.
This teleological reading of Marx, particularly supported by Alexandre Kojève before World War II, is criticized by Louis Althusser in his writings about "random materialism" (matérialisme aléatoire). Althusser claimed that said reading made the proletariat the subject of history (i.e. Georg Lukacs's History and Class Consciousness  published at the Hungarian Soviet Republic's fall), was tainted with Hegelian idealism, the "philosophy of the subject" that had been in force for five centuries, which was criticized as the "bourgeois ideology of philosophy".
In The German Ideology Marx writes that 'things have now come to such a pass that the individuals must appropriate the existing totality of productive forces, not only to achieve self-activity, but, also, merely to safeguard their very existence' . In other words, Marx seems to think that, while humans do have a need for self-activity (self-actualisation, the opposite of alienation), this will be of secondary historical relevance. This is because he thinks that capitalism will increase the economic impoverishment of the proletariat so rapidly that they will be forced to make the social revolution just to stay alive - they probably wouldn't even get to the point of worrying that much about self-activity. This doesn't mean, though, that tendencies against alienation only manifest themselves once other needs are amply met, only that they are of reduced importance. The work of Raya Dunayevskaya and others in the tradition of Marxist humanism drew attention to manifestations of the desire for self-activity even among workers struggling for more basic goals .
In this passage, from The Holy Family, Marx says that capitalists and proletarians are equally alienated, but experience their alienation in different ways:
The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-estrangement. But the former class feels at ease and strengthened in this self-estrangement, it recognizes estrangement as its own power and has in it the semblance of a human existence. The class of the proletariat feels annihilated in estrangement; it sees in it its own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existence. It is, to use an expression of Hegel, in its abasement the indignation at that abasement, an indignation to which it is necessarily driven by the contradiction between its human nature and its condition of life, which is the outright, resolute and comprehensive negation of that nature. Within this antithesis the private property-owner is therefore the conservative side, the proletarian the destructive side. From the former arises the action of preserving the antithesis, from the latter the action of annihilating it.
"I am not interested in dry economic socialism. We are fighting against misery, but we are also fighting against alienation. One of the fundamental objectives of Marxism is to remove interest, the factor of individual interest, and gain, from people’s psychological motivations. Marx was preoccupied both with economic factors and with their repercussions on the spirit. If communism isn’t interested in this too, it may be a method of distributing goods, but it will never be a revolutionary way of life."
Alienation is a theme in Marx's writing that runs right throughout his work, from the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, to Capital - especially the unpublished sections entitled Results of the Immediate Process of Production. An online archive of almost everything written by Marx can be found at the Marxists Internet Archive- at which you can search for 'alienation'. Another good way to approach Marx's original writing is through a good collection - Karl Marx: selected writings (second edition), edited by David Mclellan clearly indicates sections on alienation in its contents. Key works on alienation include the Comment on James Mill and The German Ideology. An example of characterisation of alienation in Marx's later work (which differs strongly in emphasis, if not in actual content from earlier presentations) can be found in the Grundrisse. Marx's work can sometimes be daunting - many people would recommend reading a short introduction (such as one of those indicated below) to the concept first.
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Class consciousness is consciousness of one's social class or economic rank in society. From the perspective of Marxist theory, it refers to the self-awareness, or lack thereof, of a particular class; its capacity to act in its own rational interests; or its awareness of the historical tasks implicit (given the precepts of Marxism) to it. Another Marxist approach is to consider the transition from a ‘class in itself,“ which is defined as a category of people having a common relation to the means of production, to a ‘class for itself,’ which is defined as a stratum organized in active pursuit of its own interests.
Members of "lower" classes often have a greater class consciousness than do members of the "upper" class. However, this may not necessarily be the case in societies where class hierarchy is a strict and deep tradition.
The United States has the majority of its class-related issues clouded by race. People of color in the United States are generally less well-off financially than whites. A more advanced degree of class consciousness would make one aware that all poor people in this country have a common ground that goes deeper than racial divides.
Defining a person's social class can be a determinant for his awareness of it. Marxists define classes on the basis of their relation to the means of production – especially their ownership or non-ownership of it. Non-marxist social scientists distinguish various social strata on the basis of income, occupation, or status.
Early in the nineteenth century the labels "working classes" and "middle classes" were already coming into common usage. “The old hereditary aristocracy, reinforced by the new gentry who owed their success to commerce, industry, and the professions, evolved into an "upper class". Its consciousness was formed in part by public schools (in the British sense) and Universities. The upper class tenaciously maintained control over the political system, depriving not only the working classes but the middle classes of a voice in the political process.” 
Class consciousness, as described by Georg Lukács's famous History and Class Consciousness (1923), is opposed to any psychological conception of consciousness, which forms the basis of individual or mass psychology (see Freud or, before him, Gustave Le Bon). According to Lukács, each social class has a determined class consciousness which it can achieve. In effect, as opposed to the liberal conception of consciousness as the basis of individual freedom and of the social contract, Marxist class consciousness is not an origin, but an achievement (i.e. it must be "earned" or won). Hence, it is never assured: the proletariat's class consciousness is the result of a permanent struggle to understand the "concrete totality" of the historical process.
According to Lukács, the proletariat was the first class in history that may achieve true class consciousness, because of its specific position highlighted in the Communist Manifesto as the "living negation" of capitalism. All others classes, including the bourgeoisie, are limited to a "false consciousness" which impedes them from understanding the totality of history: instead of understanding each specific moment as a portion of the historical process, they universalize it, claiming it is everlasting. Hence, capitalism is not thought as a specific phase of history, but is naturalized and thought of as an eternal solidified part of history. This "false consciousness", which forms ideology itself, is not a simple error as in classical philosophy, but an illusion which can't be dispelled. Marx described it in his theory of commodity fetishism, which Lukács completed with his concept of reification: alienation is what follows the worker's estrangement to the world following the new life acquired by the product of his work. The dominant bourgeois ideology thus leads the individual to see the achievement of his labour take a life of its own. Furthermore, specialization is also seen as a characteristic of the ideology of modern rationalism, which creates specific and independent domains (art, politics, science, etc.). Only a global perspective can point out how all these different domains interact, argues Lukács. He also points out how Kant brought to its limit the classical opposition between the abstract form and the concrete, historical content, which is abstractly conceived as irrational and contingent. Thus, with Kant's rational system, history becomes totally contingent and is thus ignored. Only with Hegel's dialectic can a mediation be found between the abstract form and the abstract notion of a concrete content.
Even if the bourgeois loses his individual point of view in an attempt to grasp the reality of the totality of society and of the historical process, he is condemned to a form of false consciousness. As an individual, he will always see the collective result of individual actions as a form of "objective law" to which he must submit himself (liberalism has gone so far as seeing an invisible hand in this collective results, making capitalism the best of all possible worlds). By contrast, the proletariat would be, according to Lukács, the first class in history with the possibility to achieve a true form of class consciousness, granting it knowledge of the totality of the historical process. The proletariat takes the place of Hegel's Weltgeist ("World Spirit"), which achieves history through Volkgeist ("the spirit of the people"): the idealist conception of an abstract Spirit making history, which ends in the realm of Reason, is replaced by a materialist conception based not on mythical Spirits, but on a concrete "identical subject-object of history": the proletariat. The proletariat is both the "object" of history, created by the capitalist social formation; but it is also the "subject" of history, as it is its labour that shapes the world, and thus, knowledge of itself is also, necessarily, knowledge of the reality and of the totality of the historical process. The proletariat's class consciousness is not immediate; class consciousness musn't be mistaken either with the consciousness of one's future and collective interests, opposed to personal immediate interests. The possibility of class consciousness is given by the objective process of history, which transforms the proletariat into a commodity, hence objectifying it. Class consciousness is thus not a simple subjective act: "as consciousness here is not the consciousness of an object opposed to itself, but the object's consciousness, the act of being conscious of oneself disrupts the objectivity form of its object" (in "Reification and the Proletariat's Consciousness" §3, III "The proletariat's point of view"). In other words, instead of the bourgeois subject and its corresponding ideological concept of individual free will, the proletariat has been transformed into an object (a commodity) which, when it takes consciousness of itself, transforms the very structure of objectivity, that is of reality.
This specific role of the proletariat is a consequence of its specific position; thus, for the first time, consciousness of itself (class consciousness) is also consciousness of the totality (knowledge of the entire social and historical process). Through dialectical materialism, the proletariat understands that what the individual bourgeois conceived as "laws" akin to the laws of nature, which may be only manipulated, as in Descartes's dream, but not changed, is in fact the result of a social and historical process, which can be controlled. Furthermore, only dialectical materialism links together all specialized domains, which modern rationalism can only think as separate instead of as forming a totality.
Only the proletariat can understand that the so-called "eternal laws of economics" are in fact nothing more than the historical form taken by the social and economical process in a capitalist society. Since these "laws" are the result of the collective actions of individuals, and are thus created by society, Marx and Lukács reasoned that this necessarily meant that they could be changed. Any attempt in transforming the so-called "laws" governing capitalism into universal principles, valid in all times and places, are criticized by Lukács as a form of false consciousness.
As the "expression of the revolutionary process itself", dialectical materialism, which is the only theory with an understanding of the totality of the historical process, is the theory which may help the proletariat in its "struggle for class consciousness". Although Lukács does not contest the Marxist primacy of the economic infrastructure on the ideological superstructure (not to be mistaken with vulgar economic determinism), he considers that there is a place for autonomous struggle for class consciousness.
In order to achieve a unity of theory and praxis, theory must not only tend toward reality in an attempt to change it; reality must also tend towards theory. Otherwise, the historical process leads a life of its own, while theorists make their own little theories, desperately waiting for some kind of possible influence over the historical process. Henceforth, reality itself must tend toward the theory, making it the "expression of the revolutionary process itself". In turn, a theory which has as its goal helping the proletariat achieve class consciousness must first be an "objective theory of class consciousness". However, theory in itself is insufficient, and ultimately relies on the struggle of humankind and of the proletariat for consciousness: the "objective theory of class consciousness is only the theory of its objective possibility".
'Class consciousness' has been criticized by many social theorists, economists and politicians as unreal, Utopian and pseudo-scientific. They argue that the increase in the possibility of social mobility has made class less meaningful.
Ernest Van Den Haag has argued:
|“||One way is to say that "objectively" people have common class interests and should act according to the class struggle pattern- but that they are not always "class conscious". They suffer from "false consciousness". But this is (a) not true; nor would it help (b) much if it were. a) There often are conflicts among objective economic interests within a Marxian class- e.g. among workers. Conflicts occur over migration, international trade, religion or race. And workers often have objective interests in common with capitalists and in conflict with the interests of other groups of workers. Class membership is no more and possibly less decisive than say race membership in determining one's political views. If you insist on the importance of race, you may persuade people to act according to their "racial interests" for a while- as the Nazis did. If you convince people that they should act according to what you tell them are your class interests, they might. The prophecy becomes self-fulfilling. But the action comes from race or class propaganda- not from race or class as objective facts. b) Further if we assume that classes are as important as Marx thought but that people do not act accordingly, because not having read Marx, they are not class conscious- if "class consciousness" becomes independent of class membership- and if class membership is neither sufficient nor necessary to bring the expected class behaviour, then social classes become one of many groups that influence man's action on some occasions. This would be a correct theory. But the distinctive point of Marxian theory is that class membership is decisive in determining most and particularly political actions. This is patently wrong.||”|
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Reification (German: Verdinglichung, literally: "making [some idea] into a thing" (from Latin "res" meaning "thing") or Versachlichung, literally "objectification" or regarding something as a business matter) is the consideration of an abstraction, relation or object as if it had human (pathetic fallacy) or living (reification fallacy) existence and abilities; at the same time it implies the thingification of social relations.
Typically it involves separating out something from the original context in which it occurs, and placing it in another context, in which it lacks some or all of its original connections yet seems to have powers or attributes which in truth it does not have. Thus reification involves a distortion of consciousness.
Reification in thought occurs when an abstract concept describing a relationship or context is treated as a concrete "thing", or if something is treated as if it were a separate object when this is inappropriate because it is not an object or because it does not truly exist in separation.
Marx argues that reification is an inherent and necessary characteristic of economic value as it manifests itself in market trade, i.e. the inversion in thought between object and subject, or between means and ends, reflects a real practice where attributes (properties, characteristics, features, powers) which exist only by virtue of a social relationship between people are treated as if they are the inherent, natural characteristics of things, or vice versa, attributes of inanimate things are treated as if they are attributes of human subjects.
This implies objects are transformed into subjects and subjects are turned into objects, with the result that subjects are rendered passive or determined, while objects are rendered as the active, determining factor. Hypostatization refers to an effect of reification which results from supposing that whatever can be named, or conceived abstractly, must actually exist, an ontological and epistemological fallacy.
The concept is related to, but is distinct from, Marx's theories of alienation and commodity fetishism. Alienation is the general condition of human estrangement. Reification is a specific form of alienation. Commodity fetishism is a specific form of reification.
"Commodities, which exist as use-values, must first of all assume a form in which they appear to one another nominally as exchange-values, as definite quantities of materialised universal labour-time. The first necessary move in this process is, as we have seen, that the commodities set apart a specific commodity, say, gold, which becomes the direct reification of universal labour-time or the universal equivalent." 
"Capital employs labour. The means of production are not means by which he can produce products, whether in the form of direct means of subsistence, or as means of exchange, as commodities. He is rather a means for them, partly to preserve their value, partly to valorise it, i.e. to increase it, to absorb surplus labour. Even this relation in its simplicity is an inversion, a personification of the thing and a reification of the person, for what distinguishes this form from all previous ones is that the capitalist does not rule the worker in any kind of personal capacity, but only in so far as he is "capital"; his rule is only that of objectified labour over living labour; the rule of the worker's product over the worker himself." 
"[B]ecause as a result of their alienation as use-values all commodities are converted into linen, linen becomes the converted form of all other commodities, and only as a result of this transformation of all other commodities into linen does it become the direct reification of universal labour-time, i.e., the product of universal alienation and of the supersession of all individual labour." 
"The production of capitalists and wage-laborers is therefore a major product of the process by which capital turns itself into values. Ordinary political economy, which concentrates only on the objects produced, forgets this entirely. Inasmuch as this process establishes reified labor as what is simultaneously the non-reification of the laborer, as the reification of a subjectivity opposed to the laborer, as the property of someone else's will, capital is necessarily also a capitalist. The idea of some socialists, that we need capital but not capitalists, is completely false. The concept of capital implies that the objective conditions of labor—and these are its own product—acquire a personality as against labor, or what amounts to the same thing, that they are established as the property of a personality other than the worker's. The concept of capital implies the capitalist. However, this error is certainly no greater than that of, e.g., all philologists who speak of the existence of capital in classical antiquity, and of Roman or Greek capitalists. This is merely another way of saying that in Rome and Greece labor was free, an assertion which these gentlemen would hardly make. If we now talk of plantation-owners in America as capitalists, if they are capitalists, this is due to the fact that they exist as anomalies within a world market based upon free labor. Were the term capital to be applicable to classical antiquity—though the word does not actually occur among the ancients (but among the Greeks the word arkhais is used for what the Romans called the principalis summa reicreditae, the principal of a loan)—then the nomadic hordes with their flocks on the steppes of Central Asia would be the greatest capitalists, for the original meaning of the word capital is cattle." 
"Capital employs labour. Even this relation in its simplicity is a personification of things and a reification of persons. But the relation becomes still more complex—and apparently more mysterious—in that, with the development of the specifically capitalist mode of production, not only do these things—these products of labour, both as use values and as exchange values—stand on their hind legs vis-à-vis the worker and confront him as "capital"—but also the social forms of labour appear as forms of the development of capital, and therefore the productive powers of social labour, thus developed, appear as productive powers of capital. As such social forces they are "capitalised" vis-à-vis labour. In fact, communal unity in cooperation, combination in the division of labour, the application of the forces of nature and science, as well as the products of labour in the shape of machinery, are all things which confront the individual workers as alien, objective, and present in advance, without their assistance, and often against them, independent of them, as mere forms of existence of the means of labour which are independent of them and rule over them, in so far as they are objective; while the intelligence and volition of the total workshop, incarnated in the capitalist or his understrappers (representatives), in so far as the workshop is formed by the combination of the means of labour, confront the workers as functions of capital, which lives in the person of the capitalist. The social forms of their own labour—the subjective as well as the objective forms—or the form of their own social labour, are relations constituted quite independently of the individual workers; the workers as subsumed under capital become elements of these social constructions, but these social constructions do not belong to them. They therefore confront the workers as shapes of capital itself, as combinations which, unlike their isolated labour capacities, belong to capital, originate from it and are incorporated within it. And this assumes a form which is the more real the more, on the one hand, their labour capacity is itself modified by these forms, so that it becomes powerless when it stands alone, i.e. outside this context of capitalism, and its capacity for independent production is destroyed, while on the other hand the development of machinery causes the conditions of labour to appear as ruling labour technologically too, and at the same time to replace it, suppress it, and render it superfluous in its independent forms. In this process, in which the social characteristics of their labour confront them as capitalised, to a certain extent—in the way that e.g. in machinery the visible products of labour appear as ruling over labour—the same thing of course takes place for the forces of nature and science, the product of general historical development in its abstract quintessence: they confront the workers as powers of capital." 
After Marx, the concept was developed in extense by Georg Lukács in "Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat", part of his book History and Class Consciousness. The concept of reification has also been present in the works of the philosophers of the Frankfurt School, for example in Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment, and in the works of Herbert Marcuse. Others who have written about this point include Gajo Petrović, Raya Dunayevskaya, Raymond Williams, Axel Honneth and Slavoj Žižek.
Petrović, in A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, defines reification as:
The act (or result of the act) of transforming human properties, relations and actions into properties, relations and actions of man‑produced things which have become independent (and which are imagined as originally independent) of man and govern his life. Also transformation of human beings into thing‑like beings which do not behave in a human way but according to the laws of the thing‑world. Reification is a ‘special’ case of ALIENATION, its most radical and widespread form characteristic of modern capitalist society.
Reification occurs when specifically human creations are misconceived as “facts of nature, results of cosmic laws, or manifestations of divine will”.
Examples include the creation of false desires by the real labor of advertising. This is the construction of nouns naming parts of reality as intrinsically desirable "products", where the legal system of the capitalist country provides "fit for use" presumptions, and legislation allows the entrepreneur to create, for example, a reified and indeed fetishised noun, from “intellectual property” to “Hula Hoop” and “Windows Vista”.
contribution by Benjamin Kanuda, BA in Sociology University of Dar essalaam Introduction: George Lukac’s was born in Hungary in 1885. He studied in Budapest, Berlin and Heidelberg and published his first book on literary criticism, Soul and Form in 1910. In 1923 he published History and Class Consciousness whereby he introduced a concept of reification and commodity fetishism which are two sides of the same coin. The concept of reification was first used by Marx but in a different way as fetishism of commodity, to describe a form of social consciousness in which human relations come to be identified with the physical properties of things, thereby acquiring an appearance of naturalness and inevitability. Marxist intended to analyze different forms of essences of commodity whether manifested or hidden ones. Lukac’s advanced the concept of fetishism to a systematic reconstruction to get reification concept, which emphasis to cover even the social structural dimensions of the concept.
The main aim of this essay is to define the concept of Reification and discuss how Lukac’s came to develop it ,In the final section of the essay, we will show how this theory can be used to analyze the emergence of new forms of reification in capitalist society, including those that are based on the growth of technology, the spread of bureaucracy, and the rationalization of occupational selection. Main body Reification as it is defined by the Marxist is based on commodity, The essence of commodity structure has often been pointed out specifically originated on relation between people which takes on the character of a thing and thus acquires a ‘phantom objectivity’, an autonomy that seems so strictly rational and all embracing as to conceal every trace of its fundamental nature the relation between people. In order to understand Lukac’s concept of reification we must view first how Marx in Chapter One of Capital entitled "The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof." Explained the notion of commodity fetishism which is introduced in the following passage:
“A Commodity is therefore a mysterious thing, simply because in it the social character of men's labor appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labor; because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses. . . A definite social relation between men assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. . . . This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, so soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities” (Marx, 1967 pg:72).
From this quotation Marx shows that producers are not manifested as social relations per se, but appear instead in the "fantastic form" of relations between things. This "fantastic form" is the relative value (viz., exchange value) which commodities assume in the process of exchange. What is "mysterious" here is that, as a value, the commodity exhibits a property which cannot adequately be explained by any material or perceptible attribute of the object. The mystery is solved, however, once we recognize that value is an expression, not of any physical technical characteristic of the object, but of the social relations with which it is connected in the commodity economy. Value is the "social form" which objects acquire as a consequence of the "peculiar social character of the labor that produces them" (Marx, 1967a:72).
The point to be stressed here is the precise nature of the illusion or mystification which commodity fetishism implies. This illusion is not, as some have suggested, that human relations take on the appearance of relations between things. This, Marx makes clear, is nothing but an expression of the real nature of social relations in a competitive market economy. Individual producers do not confront one another directly as social beings, nor is their collective labor regulated by any common plan. Each contributes to the total social product solely on the basis of private calculations of individual advantage. Consequently, it is only through the relative values which are established among their products in the act of exchange (and individual actions responsive to those relative values) that each individual's labor is coordinated with that of the rest. Thus, social relations among individual producers not only take on the appearance of relations among things, they are in fact realized only through the relations among things.
“As a general rule, articles of utility become commodities, only because they are products of the labor of private individuals or groups of individuals who carry on their work independently of each other. The sum total of the labor of all these private individuals forms the aggregate labor of society. Since the producers do not come into social contact with each other until they exchange their products, the specific social character of each producer's labor does not show itself except in the act of exchange. In other words, the labor of the individual asserts itself as a part of the labor of society, only by means of the relations which the act of exchange establishes directly between the products, and indirectly, through them, between the producers. To the latter, therefore, the relations connecting the labor of one individual with that of the rest appear, not as direct social relations between individuals at work, but as what they really are, material relations between persons and social relations between things” (Marx, 1967a:72-73, emphasis added).
Neither does the illusory nature of commodity fetishism lie in the fact that human relations appear subordinate to relations among things. This too is an expression of the real nature of social relations in a competitive market economy. Since individuals do not enter into productive relations with one another directly as social beings, but only as owners of particular things, the possession of things becomes a condition for and determines the nature of each individual's participation in the productive relations of society.
Persons are thus reduced to functioning as representatives or "personifications" of the things in their possession, while productive relations among them become dependent upon the market relations that are established among those things (Marx, 1967a:85; 1967c:819 and 824).
From this explanations of Marx, Lukac’s advanced his concept of Commodity reification to analyze both forms and essence of social structure. He starts by analyzing the relations of exchange of commodity between individuals, commodity maker (labor) and the owner of the major means of production which is hidden in what both Marx and Lukac’s call value. As illustrated in the following diagram bellow:
The important differences between Commodity fetishism and Reification lies in the scope and extensiveness of the both concepts. Whereas Fetishism restricted itself to economic aspect of human life reification is applied to all structural aspects of the society such as law, politics, games, love, music, God and other components of the social structure.(IBID: 63)
For Lukacs, capitalism is conceived as an expressive totality with reification as its essence. Within capitalism, reification functions as a "universal structuring principle" which "penetrates society in all its aspects," including human subjectivity itself.
“As the capitalist system continuously produces and reproduces itself economically on higher and higher levels, the structure of reification progressively sinks more deeply, more fatefully and more definitively into the consciousness of man. . . . It stamps its imprint on the whole of consciousness” (Lukac’s, 1971:93 and 100).
As the master principle of social and cognitive organization, ingrained upon the very structure of consciousness, reification is progressively extended to all spheres of social experience. The medium of this diffusion is described by Lukacs as a distinctive form of "rationality" which emphasizes abstract, quantitative calculability to the exclusion of other forms of human sensibility. At times this universalization of reification is equated with the extension of bureaucratic rationality as described by Weber. Elsewhere it is identified with the ascendence of positivism in modern science as criticized by Dilthey, Rickert, and Windelband.
French philosopher Louis Althusser criticized in his 1965 article Marxism and Humanism, what he called "An ideology of reification that sees 'things' everywhere in human relations" . Althusser's critique derives from his theory of the epistemological break, which finds that Marx underwent significant theoretical and methodological change between his early writings and his mature ones.
The concept of reification is used in Das Kapital, Marx's most mature work; however, Althusser finds in it an important influence from the similar concept of alienation developed in The German Ideology and in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844.
Frankfurt School philosopher Axel Honneth reformulates this key "Western Marxist" concept in terms of intersubjective relations of recognition and power in his recent work Reification (Oxford, 2007). Instead of being an effect of the structural character of social systems such as capitalism, as Karl Marx and György Lukács argued, Honneth contends that all forms of reification are due to pathologies of intersubjectively based struggles for recognition.
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Consumerism is the equation of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possessions. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen or, more recently by a movement called Enoughism. Veblen's subject of examination, the newly emergent middle class arising at the turn of the twentieth century, comes to full fruition by the end of the twentieth century through the process of globalization.
In economics, consumerism refers to economic policies placing emphasis on consumption. In an abstract sense, it is the belief that the free choice of consumers should dictate the economic structure of a society (cf. Producerism, especially in the British sense of the term).
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Consumerism has strong links with the Western world, but is in fact an international phenomenon. People purchasing goods and consuming materials in excess of their basic needs is as old as the first civilizations (see Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Ancient Rome, for example).
A great turn in consumerism arrived just before the Industrial Revolution. While before the norm had been the scarcity of resources, The Industrial Revolution created an unusual situation: for the first time in history products were available in outstanding quantities, at outstandingly low prices, being thus available to virtually everyone. And so began the era of mass consumption, the only era where the concept of consumerism is applicable.
It's still good to keep in mind that since consumerism began, various individuals and groups have consciously sought an alternative lifestyle, such as the "simple living", "eco-conscious", and "localvore"/"buy local" movements.
Consumerism, the promotion of consumer rights and protection. Subject to the doctrine of caveat emptor (Latin, "let the buyer beware").
The older term and concept of "conspicuous consumption" originated at the turn of the 20th century in the writings of sociologist and economist, Thorstein Veblen. The term describes an apparently irrational and confounding form of economic behaviour. Veblen's scathing proposal that this unnecessary consumption is a form of status display is made in darkly humorous observations like the following:
The term "conspicuous consumption" spread to describe consumerism in the United States in the 1960s, but was soon linked to debates about media theory, culture jamming, and its corollary productivism.
|“||By 1920 most people [Americans] had experimented with occasional installment buying.||”|
While consumerism is not a new phenomenon, it has become widespread over the course of the 20th century, and particularly in recent decades.
Webster's dictionary defines Consumerism as "The movement seeking to protect and inform consumers by requiring such practices as honest packaging and advertising, product guarantees, and improved safety standards.
or alternately "The theory that a progressively greater consumption of goods is economically beneficial.". It is thus the opposite of anti-consumerism or of producerism.
In many critical contexts, consumerism is used to describe the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially those with commercial brand names and perceived status-symbolism appeal, e.g. a luxury automobile, designer clothing, or expensive jewelry. A culture that is permeated by consumerism can be referred to as a consumer culture or a market culture.
Opponents of consumerism argue that many luxuries and unnecessary consumer products may act as social mechanism allowing people to identify like-minded individuals through the display of similar products, again utilizing aspects of status-symbolism to judge socioeconomic status and social stratification. Some people believe relationships with a product or brand name are substitutes for healthy human relationships lacking in societies, and along with consumerism, create a cultural hegemony, and are part of a general process of social control in modern society. Critics of consumerism often point out that consumerist societies are more prone to damage the environment, contribute to global warming and use up resources at a higher rate than other societies.
In 1955, economist Victor Lebow stated (as quoted by Rees, 2009):
|“||"Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate".||”|
Critics of consumerism include Pope Benedict XVI, German historian Oswald Spengler (who said, "Life in America is exclusively economic in structure and lacks depth"), and French writer Georges Duhamel, who held "American materialism up as a beacon of mediocrity that threatened to eclipse French civilization".
In an opinion segment of New Scientist magazine published in August 2009, reporter Andy Coghlan cited William Rees of the University of British Columbia and epidemiologist Warren Hern of the University of Colorado at Boulder, saying that human beings, despite considering themselves civilized thinkers, are "subconsciously still driven by an impulse for survival, domination and expansion... an impulse which now finds expression in the idea that inexorable economic growth is the answer to everything, and, given time, will redress all the world's existing inequalities." According to figures presented by Rees at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, human society is in a "global overshoot", consuming 30% more material than is sustainable from the world's resources. Rees went on to state that at present, 85 countries are exceeding their domestic "bio-capacities", and compensate for their lack of local material by depleting the stocks of other countries, which have a material surplus due to their lower consumption.
Beginning in the 1990s, the most frequent reason given for attending college had changed to making a lot of money, outranking reasons such as becoming an authority in a field or helping others in difficulty. This statement directly correlates with the rise of materialism, specifically the technological aspect. At this time compact disc players, digital media, personal computers, and cellular telephones all began to integrate into the affluent American’s everyday lifestyle. Madeline Levine criticized what she saw as a large change in American culture – “a shift away from values of community, spirituality, and integrity, and toward competition, materialism and disconnection.” 
Businesses have realized that wealthy consumers are the most attractive targets for marketing their products. The upper class' tastes, lifestyles, and preferences trickle down to become the standard which all consumers seek to emulate. The not so wealthy consumers can “purchase something new that will speak of their place in the tradition of affluence” . A consumer can have the instant gratification of purchasing an expensive item that will help improve their social status.
Emulation is also a core component of 21st century consumerism. As a general trend, regular consumers seek to emulate those who are above them in the social hierarchy. The poor strive to imitate the wealthy and the wealthy imitate celebrities and other icons. The celebrity endorsement of products can be seen as evidence of the desire of modern consumers to purchase products partly or solely to emulate people of higher social status. This purchasing behavior may co-exist in the mind of a consumer with an image of oneself as being an individualist.
There has always been strong criticism of the anti-consumerist movement. Most of this comes from libertarian thought.
Libertarian criticisms of the anti-consumerist movement are largely based on the perception that it leads to elitism. Namely, libertarians believe that no person should have the right to decide for others what goods are necessary for living and which aren't, or that luxuries are necessarily wasteful, and thus argue that anti-consumerism is a precursor to central planning or a totalitarian society. Twitchell, in his book Living It Up, sarcastically remarked that the logical outcome of the anti-consumerism movement would be a return to the sumptuary laws that existed in ancient Rome and during the Middle Ages, historical periods prior to the era of Karl Marx in the 19th century.
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