Radical Sociology

By J. David Colfax; Jack L. Roach | Go to book overview

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The Fetishism of Sociology *
JOHN HORTON APOLOGY is the practice of bourgeois sociology. Intellectual workers tied to the commodity market, sociologists are organized to produce a mystical, pseudoreality which duplicates and affirms the reified and ruling social order. The very conditions of sociological employment assure the failure of the science of man except as a distorted theory of the manipulation and management of man. What follows is a critique of sociological work and consciousness—how the commodity labor and reified consciousness of sociologists disguise the practical and politically oppressive realities of the scientific and social worlds. This is a preliminary and speculative exercise, a beginning and not an end.The essay falls into the following sections:
1. A discussion of basic concepts: reification as the ploy of ruling interests and as the false consciousness of alienated, commodity labor:
2. Presentation and elaboration of the basic thesis: a reified social order requires a reified science to support and justify its exploitative practices. Reified thinking about intellectual labor (e.g., scientific knowledge and science as autonomous realms unconnected to interest,
____________________
*
This essay is a revised and expanded version of the "Fetishism of Concepts," et al., 2 (Fall, 1969): 9-11. My argument rests heavily on the following sources: Karl Marx, "The Alienation of Labor," Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, in T. B. Bottomore, ed., Karl Marx, Early Writings (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), pp. 120-134; Karl Marx, "Commodities," Capital I (Moscow: Foreign Languages, 1959), pp. 35-83; George Lukacs, "La réification et la conscience du prolétariat," Histoire et Conscience de Classe, trad. par K. Axelos et J. Bois (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1960), pp. 109-256; Antonio Gramsci, The Modern Prince and Other Writings (New York: International Publishers, 1967); Paul Sweezy, "The Qualitative-Value Problem," The Theory of Capitalist Development (New York: Oxford University Press, 1942), pp. 23-40.

I am indebted to the critical comments of Arturo Biblarz, Fariborz Filsoufi, Audrey Fuss, Martha Gimenez, Audrey Krupp, Steve Riskin, Melvin Seeman, and Linda Shaw.

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