Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In his widely read classic One-Dimensional Man (ODM), Herbert Marcuse offers a political anthropology of twentieth-century liberal democracy which is deeply pessimistic and yet has been read in the 1960s and 1970s as a call to transformative action in the fields of politics and everyday life. The chapter begins by addressing the concepts introduced by Marcuse to explain why transformative political action is unlikely to succeed: manipulation, false needs, repressive desublimation. It then considers Marcuse’s search for agents of change who are nevertheless able to undermine or circumvent the total power of contemporary society, as well as his normative vision of a libidinal democracy based on an implicit concept of positive freedom. Finally, the chapter assesses both the limitations of ODM and its continuing, if unacknowledged, influence among contemporary theorists who attempt to move beyond liberal theories of justice.

Keywords: Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man, manipulation, false needs, repressive desublimation, total power, positive freedom, libidinal democracy, theories of justice

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.