Title of Book

Freedom in the Anthropocene: Twentieth-Century Helplessness in the Face of Climate Change


Sociology and Anthropology

Document Type

Book Section/Chapter

Place of Publication

New York


Palgrave Macmillan

Year of Publication


Page Range



This chapter situates Lukács' critique of reification (1923) in relation to the emergence of the Great Acceleration. We develop Lukács' critique through the issue of the increasing rationalization of industrial and administrative work in the early twentieth century. In do so, we show how Lukács is able to relocate the continued relevance of Marx's insights with respect to the deeper structure of capitalist society in his consideration of the differential manner in which proletariat and bourgeois class consciousness approach the problem of social contradictions. We then discuss how, for Lukács, the overcoming of reification (or the failure to do so) has profound implications for how society comes to regard history and the possibility of freedom. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the significance of Lukács' critique for our understanding of the Great Acceleration.