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Herbert Marcuse was one of the most radical thinkers of the twentieth century. Synthesizing Marx and Freud, his far-reaching critique of capitalist civilization inspired anti-capitalists and counterculture activists throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and is still relevant today.
With an introduction by philosopher Ray Brassier, Psychoanalysis, Politics, and Utopia gathers together five lectures delivered by Marcuse between 1956 and 1967 on the relationship between technological progress, repression, and freedom. Making the provocative claim that the energies released by automation will make it possible to envisage the end of the capitalist social relations that enforce repression, this often overlooked but prescient volume gives us a blueprint for the emancipation of humanity from the toils of capitalism.
In a world reeling from the ongoing collapse of the neoliberal consensus, coupled with the accelerating pace of catastrophic climate change wrought by capitalism, Marcuse’s radical insights in Psychoanalysis, Politics, and Utopia are more relevant now than ever.
Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) was a philosopher and critical social theorist. He was a member of the Institute for Social Research, along with Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. His best-known works are Reason and Revolution (1940); Eros and Civilization (1955); and One Dimensional Man (1964). His work exerted a profound influence on the New Left and the radical counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s.
Ray Brassier is Professor of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and a founding member of the Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). He is the author or Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction and co-editor (with Alberto Toscano) of Alain Badiou’s Theoretical Writings.
“Against the lies and mystifications of a cynical ‘realism,’ Marcuse insists on the real basis of utopia — an insistence we need today more than ever.”
“Marcuse also shows a path to a concrete utopia made possible by the achievements of the existing society. The essays in his volume are once again timely as rising social conflict on the right and the left challenges conventional thinking.”
“Marcuse’s Five Lectures: Psychoanalysis, Politics, and Utopia present important articles that illuminate his appropriation and use of Freud and psychoanalysis while indicating their relevance to politics and and utopian concepts of liberation and revolution. These texts indicate how and why Marcuse was a key influence on the New Left and radical politics during the last two decades of his life in the 1960s and 1970’s, and his continuing relevance for radical theory and politics today.”