Henri Lefebvre: A Critical Introduction by Andy Merrifield

By Andy Merrifield

Thinker, sociologist and concrete theorist, Henri Lefebvre is likely one of the nice social theorists of the 20th century. This obtainable and cutting edge advent to the paintings of Lefebvre combines biography and conception in a severe overview of the dynamics of Lefebvre's personality, inspiration, and instances. Exploring key Lefebvrian suggestions, Andy Merrifield demonstrates the evolution of Lefebvre's philosophy, whereas stressing the way in which his lengthy and adventurous lifetime of rules and political engagement continue to exist as an everlasting and encouraging interrelated entire.

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35 The Abbey of Thélème even seemed to anticipate the young Marx’s radiant vision: a “communist utopia that opened itself resolutely towards the future. It proposed an image of man fully developed, in a free society. ”36 Lefebvre himself stepped into Rabelais’s unfettered world of excess, affirming throughout his life his own free will in everyday life—for better or for worse. He willfully ignored abstinence and austerity, as well as a plebeian asceticism that informed a lot of his generation’s visions of Marxism and communism.

For leisure, workers give back their hard-earned cash as consumers, as mere bearers of money; private life, meanwhile, becomes the domain where they’re lured to spend, the domain of the ad, of fashion, of movie and pop stars and glamorous soap operas, of dreaming for what you already know is available, at a cost. In an ever-expanding postwar capitalism, all boundaries between economic, political, and private life are duly dissolving. All consumable time and space is raw material for new products, for new commodities.

In the chapters to follow, I probe key concepts: Everyday Life (chapter 1), Moments (chapter 2), Spontaneity (chapter 3), Urbanity and the Urban Revolution (chapters 4 and 5, respectively), Space (chapter 6), Globalization and the State (chapter 7), Mystified Consciousness (chapter 8), and the Total Man (afterword), in the light (and darkness) of the present conjuncture. As they shift thematically, each chapter will periodize a specific facet of Lefebvre’s life and thought at the same time as it tries to stress how these particular facets live on today, as an enduring interrelated whole.

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