chapter  3
Lukács in context
Pages 19

The rest of this chapter is devoted to four tasks: (a) the schematic delineation, for present purposes in the manner of a historian of ideas,5 of some of the intellectual ‘currents’ and ‘influences’ which Lukacs brought to Marxism (notably the ‘Lebensphilosophie’ and neo-Kantianism) and which inform his early work in social theory; in History and Class Consciousness he is often conducting an implicit dialogue with or sometimes a polemic against these ideas and this section should enable us to obtain a fuller understanding of its con­ tent ; (b) a selective excursion into the socio-political context of the early Lukacs for the purpose of bringing out the important simul­ taneous ethical and political content of Lukacs’s epistemological theory of class consciousness; (c) a special focus on some aspects o f Max Weber’s work as perhaps the most important sociological influence on Lukacs (and on subsequent Frankfurt ‘Critical Theory’), particularly the processes of the rationalization of society and science under capitalism and the famous notion of the institutional ‘iron cage’ which men have built around themselves;6 (d) related to the rationalization problematic, and to the influence of the ‘Lebensphilo­ sophie', a short account of Lukacs’s concept of reification and its relation to M arx’s concepts of alienation and fetishism to introduce the further ramifications of Lukacs’s thought treated in subsequent chapters.