Georg Lukács's concept of reification is celebrated for its account of how capitalist society affects individual subjectivity. However, even its admirers have rejected the way that Lukács uses this idea to argue that the proletariat can develop a revolutionary class consciousness out of reification: they argue that he relies too much on flawed Romantic models of subjectivity. In contrast, I outline a phenomenological reading of Lukács's theory, comparing his thought with that of Edmund Husserl and Emil Lask. This makes consciousness a mode of being rather than an epistemological question. Thus categories of consciousness affect the existence of objects: the way that society appears is, for Lukács, the way that it exists. Ultimately, this leads to a new appreciation of the role of the revolutionary Party in Lukács's theory: his preference for a Luxemburgian party gives a theoretical foundation for describing performed social action as “free.”

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