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On Voluntary Servitude: False Consciousness and The Theory of Ideology

On Voluntary Servitude: False Consciousness and The Theory of Ideology

Michael Rosen

ISBN: 978-0-745-61596-7

May 1996, Polity

304 pages

In Stock

$29.95

Description

This book addresses a central theme in social and political theory: what is the motivation behind the theory of ideology, and can such a theory be defended?
Preface.

1. Introduction.

2. The Forms of False Consciousness.

3. Rationalism and False Consciousness.

4. Unintended Consequences and the Idea of a Social System.

5. Hegel.

6. Marx.

7. Critical Theory.

8. The Theory of Ideology and Beyond.

Bibliography.

Index.

"Ever since &Eacutetienne de la Bo&icirctie posed the vexing question, 'why do some men accept their servitude voluntarily?', theorists of all persuasions have struggled to provide a plausible answer. Perhaps the most powerful they have contrived posits the notion of ideological false consciousness, which found special favour among Marxists. In this sober, detailed, and rigorous reconstruction of the historical discourses of ideology critique, Michael Rosen examines all of the arguments on its behalf and finds them wanting. No one who hopes to rescue that answer, or indeed is concerned with the initial question itself, can fail to confront and rebut, if they can, his cogent objections." Professor Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley

"On Voluntary Servitude offers a clear analysis and an exploration of some writings off the beaten track." Political Studies

"Fascinating ... ambitious and informative ... incisive conceptual analysis with scholarship which is accurate and invigorating." Times Literary Supplement

"He brings ... both tremendous historical erudition and great philosophical rigour. Rosen's discussions of Hume, Rousseau, Smith and Hegel are outstanding, as is his sensitive and illuminating treatment of Benjamin towards the end of the book ... Undoubted strengths and incidental pleasures." Radical Philosophy

"Intellectually scrupulous." Inquiry

  • Addresses a key theme in social and political thought: what is the motivation behind the theory of ideology, and can such a theory be defended?
  • Provides new interpretations of Rousseau, Smith, Herder, Hegel, Mark, Adorno and Benjamin
  • Well written and easily accessible to students in philosophy, social and political theory, and the history of political thought
  • The author is a well known and highly respected philosopher.