Alienation Stories explores a Marxist theory of alienation through selected works from three lesser known 20th Century theorists: Franz Borkenau, Alfred Sohn-Rethel, and Kōstas Axelos. If we read Marx’s theory of Alienation, roughly, as having three parts: 1) objectification of the subject, 2) development of the subject once objectified, and 3) the return of the objectified subject to a ‘higher level’ of subjectivity, then my readings of Borkenau, Sohn-Rethel, and Axelos each correspond to an aspect of the theory of alienation. Franz Borkenau, read together with Walter Benjamin, corresponds to the first stage of alienation. Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s discussion of the social role of the ‘exchange relation’ corresponds to the second stage of the theory of alienation. Finally, Kōstas Axelos’ emphasis on technology as the motor of history is one attempt to supplement the theory of alienation with phenomenology. My reading of Axelos corresponds to the third stage of alienation theory.
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Thesis advisor: Gruneau, Richard
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