Micro And Macro Analysis Of Social Theory Of Herbert Marcuse Essay

2012 Words9 Pages
Micro and Macro Analysis in the Social Theory of Herbert Marcuse. The themes outlined in Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilisation and One Dimensional Man have roots in both Marx’s political economic theory and Freud’s psychology. In explaining the existence of society, Marcuse shows how the motivations of the individual maintain the social world, but are also shaped by structural forces. Through an extension of Marx’s argument and the application of Freud’s psychology, Marcuse explains how the creation of the one-dimensional man maintains social order and suppresses civil unrest. Yet, the revolution Marx envisages could be a possibility, once liberated from one-dimensional thought. Both micro- and macro-social analysis is used by Marcuse, without an attempt to create a meta-theory. Providing a Marxist critique of society, Marcuse argues for human choice and compliance within existing social structures.

Through the discussion of ‘socialisation’, ‘repressive desublimation’ and ‘surplus repression’ this essay will demonstrate how Marcuse’s theoretical approach was influenced by classical theorists Marx and Freud, as well as consideration of the key debate in sociology regarding the primacy of structural forces or personal agency in understanding and explaining the social world. This can subsequently be traced to contemporary theorists, notably, Giddens’ development of structuration theory and Archer’s understanding of society as a reflexive ongoing process.

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