One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (Routledge Classics) Hardcover – 11 Jul 2002
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About the Author
Herbert Marcuse (1989-1979). Born in Berlin but forced to flee Germany in 1933; gained world renown during the 1960s as a philosopher, social theorist and political activist.
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Top Customer Reviews
Although it's useful to read some of Marcuse's earlier texts such as 'Soviet Marxism', 'Eros and Civilisation' and the brilliant 'Reason and Revolution' they are not essential.
The premise of the book is a revisionist Marxist approach to why no revolution had occurred in society. It is staggering in it's response. It argues that the artificial production of false needs generates a false idea of freedom and liberation and this is reinforced by the technological apparatus of capitalism and social control and reinforcement. Whilst many Marxist books are fairly bland rhetoric, this book is superbly subtle, cutting and mind-expanding in it's arguments about the shaping of modern American and Western society as a totalitarian parallel. There's a phenomenal section where Marcuse argues along the lines of 'in Soviet Russia, the party controls all aspects of life, making it totalitarian, in captialist America, the capitalist system and hierarchy controls every aspect of life through artifical manufacturing of happiness and satisfaction through production and consumption of needs.' The book absolutely blew my mind when I first read it and opens up even more doors and inspiration the more I assess it.
In terms of radical or revolutionary politics, this book is beyond an essential, it is the BEST WRITTEN, ARGUED AND FORMULATED counter-culture revolutionary book of at least the last 50 years.Read more ›
One-Dimensional Man reads like an academic text made accessible for the non-specialist, and it may prove difficult reading, in a few short sections, for those unfamiliar with the late drive theory of Freud - cf. the part on 'saved' libido and how it is used. Non-familiarity with Marx is probably less problematical for understanding the thrust of Marcuse's argument(s).
The core of the main argument is that the consciousness of human beings living under modern capitalism has been manipulated to secure the continuation of what is in fact the historically obsolescent domination of man by man. This manipulation has been greatly facilitated by a steep rise in living standards and the spectre of living in a Soviet society, which many erroneously believe to be the only historical alternative to capitalism (this belief too can be traced back to the general manipulation).
The manipulation is so pernicious because of its absolute character and appropriation of concepts such as 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Our needs and desires have become manufactured needs and desires, our thought manufactured thought, our behaviour manufactured behaviour.Read more ›
the best book is Vanegeim's Revolution of Everyday Life- much more poetic and violent. This is still locked in academese.
The basic premise being we have all sold our souls to mammon and surrendered our dreams and desires, so embedded in its fluffy goose down we have forgotten who we are. Everywhere alienated consumption has invaded our lives that we have split our personalities to into performed roles. All of these are off the peg affairs handed down as templates from the media, family, insitutions- refracted through social class ideology.
The sense of being an authentic individual has become subsumed under the new to acquire and show off, to be part of a throng, this is inculcated by the advertising industry and keeps the wheels of capital turning. It points to a malaise in late capitalism that is psychological as well as economic. This was the transcendence of the Frankfurt School over the economic deterministic viewpoints of die hard communists. The latter believed the new world would be ushered in after the revolution when the proles had the means of production. The Frankfurt School pointed out it was not so simple, the proles wanted to be bourgeois in power relationships and were not he idealised force Marx believed they were. Sexuality, gender, race, disability were all other determinants of oppression.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent, clear thesis and implications have materialised. More relevant today than when it was written in the 'cold war' period.Published 13 months ago by G R Grace-Gardener
Alot of the analysis here rings as true today as it would have done in the sixties. We are often encouraged to think outside the box, this book demonstrates the extent to which... Read morePublished on 14 Jun. 2014 by Snoopy
Still Much to Offer Contemporary Society
I arrived at Marcuse as a result of reading Terri Murray's 'Black Mirror Reflections' in issue 97 (July/August 2013) of... Read more
Marcuses 1964 analysis of how the consumer society works like a psychic prison seems even more relevant today. Read morePublished on 12 July 2011 by Amazon Reader