Marcuse's Eros And Civilization

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The theoretical themes in Marcuse’s Eros and Civilisation and One Dimensional Man have roots in both Marx and Freud’s theories. In explaining the existence of society, Marcuse shows how the motivations of the individual maintain social world, but have been shaped by structural forces. Marcuse extends Marx’s argument through the application of Freud’s psychology of the self, in order to explain how order is maintained and how dissent is controlled and repressed by creating one dimensional man [person]. Yet, the revolution Marx envisages is a possibility, if liberated from one dimensional thought. Marcuse employs both micro and macro social analyse, without attempting to create a meta-theory, his situation within the sociological debate argues …show more content…
Which Freud would consider impossible, for he viewed the centre of society as regulation of the human desires of sex and violence: “The tendency to aggression is an original, autonomous disposition in man, and […] it represents the greatest obstacle to civilization” (Freud 1941: 74). This socialisation of the self enables the internalising of values through interaction with the social world, by forming the individual as a microcosm of society. But according to Freud, this repressive root of civilisation also leaves humans discontented. Through secondary analysis of Freud’s micro level understanding of what is now understood to be the socialization process, Marcuse saw that if society can influence the self, then the self is not a fixed being. Marcuse uses Freud’s’ argument of conscious ‘ subconscious in relation to the transformation of the pleasure principle (self) into the reality principle (socialised self) to argue that the self is determined by the society that a person is born into: “he becomes a conscious, thinking subject, geared to a rationality which is imposed upon him from outside” (Marcuse 1969:14). . Enforcing the reality principle over the pleasure principle is a structural form created by humans, evolved historically, which serves to maintain social interaction and motivations so if the nature of oppression …show more content…
Which demonstrates how sociology can address social change, by developing theoretical understanding as new social forms emerge. The major debate within sociology of ‘structure or agency’ can force analysis to ignore or reject aspects of social reality or attempt to compromise. Giddens consider structure and agency to be inseparable, situating actions as choices within social frameworks, with empirical study his theory underestimates the real-life restrictions of society for some people. Archer considers both structure and agency as important, but not compounded, as this causes a loss of distinction of the two. Another consideration is how inequality and power effect both the ability of structural forces to control individual actions, and the autonomous persons in resisting those influences. Structuration may not account for this, Marcuse does. It is this understanding which explains how structures originate from agency, but resistance to change is upheld. Marcuse’s work explains how society gives the illusion of freedom, through the one dimensional political and cultural world it has constructed which pacifies resistance through the provision of false

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