Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical by Jean L. Cohen

By Jean L. Cohen

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The new class is a flawed universal class because it cultivates its own particular guild interests but, at the same time, embodies the collective, or universal, interest. It turns out, after all, that the new intellectual class is the "most progressive force in history," that the culture of critical discourse is a harbinger of freedom, that the attack on the old order really represents the interests of almost everyone. From the heights of a historical materialist insight into future development, Gouldner claims that the intellectual class (like the rising bourgeoisie) is universal and progressive.

4/11 subject : Communism and society, Critical theory, Proletariat, Social classes, Social conflict, Civil society, Marx, Karl,--1818-1883. Page iii Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical Theory Jean L. Cohen Page iv Copyright © 1982 by Jean L. Cohen All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America LC 82-11104 ISBN 0-87023-380-7 Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data appear on the last printed page of this book. Page v For Cele with all my love Page vii Acknowledgements I would like to thank the Fulbright Commission for providing the financial support in 1975-76 for the early stages of this project.

Gouldner's work is thus only apparently a critique of Marxism. It is difficult to see just what the class theory of intellectuals adds to the common analyses of the privilege and power of intellectual strata besides a deterministic evolutionism. Its sole new twist consists in the uninspiring exercise of applying the historical materialist version of the Marxian class theory to Marxists, among other intellectuals, who pre- Page 17 sume to selflessly articulate the needs of other oppressed groups.

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