On Alienation and Imperialism: Synthesizing the Work of Herbert Marcuse and Samir Amin
Hornstein, Sarah Shoshana
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This dissertation builds on the idea that there is much to be gained by bringing Western Marxism and Marxist theories of imperialism into engagement with each other through synthesis of the work of two key figures: Herbert Marcuse and Samir Amin. Using Marcuse to supplement Amin (and vice versa) provides for a more complete understanding of capitalist imperialism on a world scale. This lends Marcuse an applicability/relevance currently denied to him while also allowing for an updating of his theory that accounts for changes in the operation of capitalism since his time. It also enhances Amins work insofar as it can be used to augment his analysis of the capitalist centres and their relation to the periphery. A key objective of the analysis this dissertation undertakes is to produce a more robust theoretical approach capable of increasing our understanding of the world and positioning us to better meet the challenges posed for human emancipation from an exploitative, alienated existence of suffering. Chapter 1 provides the necessary background for engaging with both Amins and Marcuses analyses of alienation by focusing on the work of Marx, Lukcs, and Freud. Chapter 2 engages in explicit discussion of Amins analysis of the world capitalist system and its development. Chapter 3 is concerned with Marcuses work and begins with discussion of the emergence of one dimensional thinking and technological rationality before turning to Marcuses analysis of alienation. The final chapter demonstrates the compatibility of Amins and Marcuses analyses and concludes by pointing toward some possibilities for future research.