Book Section
This chapter proposes one definition of critical materialism and a critique of politics based on several authors from Marx to Foucault. This critique occurs in several stages and unfolds as a criticism of universals such as human freedom, general interest, political rationality, or reconciled political community. The decisive materialist-historical question, then, is which of the different materialities is dominant at a certain point of time. I argue that Marx condemns politics as an illusion. He thought of ‘political reason’ as a form of ‘spiritualism’. Hence, critical materialism argues for a move away from the illusion of politics.
Keywords: historical materialism; historical block; material practices; political illusion; materialism (philosophy); critical materialism; political science; Foucault, Michel; Althusser, Louis
Title
The Historicity of Materialism and the Critique of Politics
Author(s)
Alex Demirović
Identifier
DOI Target
HTML Page
Description
This chapter proposes one definition of critical materialism and a critique of politics based on several authors from Marx to Foucault. This critique occurs in several stages and unfolds as a criticism of universals such as human freedom, general interest, political rationality, or reconciled political community. The decisive materialist-historical question, then, is which of the different materialities is dominant at a certain point of time. I argue that Marx condemns politics as an illusion. He thought of ‘political reason’ as a form of ‘spiritualism’. Hence, critical materialism argues for a move away from the illusion of politics.
Is Part Of
Place
Berlin
Publisher
ICI Berlin Press
Date
2021
Subject
historical materialism
historical block
material practices
political illusion
materialism (philosophy)
critical materialism
political science
Foucault, Michel
Althusser, Louis
Rights
© by the author(s)
Except for images or otherwise noted, this publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Language
en-GB
short title
Historicity and Critique
page start
313
page end
326
Source
Materialism and Politics, ed. by Bernardo Bianchi, Emilie Filion-Donato, Marlon Miguel, and Ayşe Yuva, Cultural Inquiry, 20 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 313–26
Bibliographic Citation
Alex Demirović, ‘The Historicity of Materialism and the Critique of Politics’, in Materialism and Politics, ed. by Bernardo Bianchi, Emilie Filion-Donato, Marlon Miguel, and Ayşe Yuva, Cultural Inquiry, 20 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 313–26 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-20_17>

References

  • Adorno, Theodor W., Philosophische Elemente einer Theorie der Gesellschaft (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2008)
  • Adorno, Theodor W., and Max Horkheimer, Briefwechsel, 4 vols, in Theodor W. Adorno. Briefe und Briefwechsel, 8vols (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1994–), iv.4: 1950–1969 (2006)
  • Foucault, Michel, ‘“Omnes et Singulatim”: Toward a Critique of Political Reason’, in Essential Works of Foucault 1954–1984: Power, ed. by Paul Rabinow, James D. Faubion (New York: New Press, 2001), pp. 298–325
  • Foucault, Michel, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977–78, ed. by Arnold I. Davidson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
  • Foucault, Michel, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–79, ed. by Arnold I. Davidson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
  • Horkheimer, Max, ‘Anfänge der bürgerlichen Geschichtsphilosophie’, in Gesammelte Schriften, 19 vols (Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1987), ii, pp. 177–268
  • Marx, Karl, ‘Theses on Feuerbach’, ed. by Friedrich Engels, in MECW, v (1976), pp. 6–8
  • Marx, Karl, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law, in MECW, iii (1975), pp. 3–129
  • Marx, Karl, ‘Critical Marginal Notes on the Article “The King of Prussia and Social Reform. By a Prussian”’, in MECW, iii (1975), pp. 189–206
  • Marx, Karl, ‘Kritische Randglossen zu dem Artikel “Der König von Preußen und die Sozialreform. Von einem Preußen”’, in MEW, i (1981), pp. 392–409
  • Marx, Karl, ‘Letters from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher’, in MECW, iii (1975), pp. 133–45
  • Marx, Karl, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law. Introduction, in MECW, iii (1975), pp. 175–87
  • Marx, Karl, ‘Thesen über Feuerbach’, in MEW, iii (1958), pp. 5–7
  • Marx, Karl, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, 3 vols (London: Penguin, 1976), i, trans. by Ben Fowkes
  • Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels, Marx-Engels-Werke, 44 vols (Berlin: Dietz, 1956–2018) [= MEW]
  • Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works, 50 vols (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1975–2004) [= MECW]
  • Žižek, Slavoj, The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology (London: Verso, 1999)
  •  
     
Cite as: Alex Demirović, ‘The Historicity of Materialism and the Critique of Politics’, in Materialism and Politics, ed. by Bernardo Bianchi, Emilie Filion-Donato, Marlon Miguel, and Ayşe Yuva, Cultural Inquiry, 20 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 313–26 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-20_17>
Alex Demirović, ‘The Historicity of Materialism and the Critique of Politics’, in Materialism and Politics, ed. by Bernardo Bianchi, Emilie Filion-Donato, Marlon Miguel, and Ayşe Yuva, Cultural Inquiry, 20 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2021), pp. 313-26 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-20_17>

Export