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By Jean L. Cohen

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Extra resources for Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical Theory

Sample text

Cohen All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America LC 82-11104 ISBN 0-87023-380-7 Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data appear on the last printed page of this book. Page v For Cele with all my love Page vii Acknowledgements I would like to thank the Fulbright Commission for providing the financial support in 1975-76 for the early stages of this project. I am also grateful to Dr. Joseph Murphy, former president of Bennington College, for his intellectual encouragement and financial assistance for the final stages.

Gorz and Mallet argue, in short, that the new working class possesses a level of knowledge and education and engages in a type of labor that generates qualitative needs for autonomy, participation, and workers' control (autogestion) that cannot be satisfied within the framework of capitalist production relations. The critique of science, technology, and the hierarchical division of labor does not imply for new-working-class theorists, as it does for Marcuse, that the realm of necessary labor either is doomed to perpetuate alienation or must be changed on the basis of an entirely new science and technology.

It would thus not be possible to develop a new critical stratification theory, to address social movements, or to assess structural contradictions without a revision of the theory of civil society on which the class analysis is based. Accordingly, I use the term stratification rather than class. The question as to which Marxian categories might continue to inform such a project can be answered only after an immanent critique of the theory as a whole. Indeed, it should be apparent that neo-Marxist attempts to develop a new class theory of contemporary capitalism are biased from the outset.

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