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False Consciousness: A Relevant Concept?

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False Consciousness: A Relevant Concept?

Deslauriers-Paquette, Nika (2011) False Consciousness: A Relevant Concept? Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

False consciousness was a concept originally developed by Marx and Engels in the 19th century, to explain the actions and behaviors of the bourgeoisie. In the 20th century, various political thinkers such as Lukács, Marcuse and Jost broadened its definition to explain the actions and behaviors of all members of society, including those from lower or subordinate classes. False consciousness has since been used by some Marxian political thinkers and anti-capitalist activists to make sense of people’s quiescence towards the capitalist system. This interpretation of the concept has attracted an array of critiques that have severely affected false consciousness’ legitimacy and value. These critiques demonstrate that people’s quiescence toward the capitalist system is not necessarily synonymous with false consciousness and it should not be used as an excuse for communism’s failure. Despite the severity of these critiques, Augoustinos disputes that false consciousness is not an outdated and useless concept, but that it is necessary to redefine it in order to increase its credibility. It must be situated, not in people’s mind, but within the capitalist structure, which presents itself as a superior version of what it truly is and sustains misconceptions about its real capacities and limitations. This thesis is thus an implicit defense of the validity of the Marxian concept of false consciousness.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Deslauriers-Paquette, Nika
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Public Policy and Public Administration
Date:06 April 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):King, Edward and Paterson, Stephanie
ID Code:7206
Deposited By:NIKA DESLAURIERS-PAQUETTE
Deposited On:09 Jun 2011 11:39
Last Modified:09 Jun 2011 11:39
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