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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 16, Issue 1, 2013

Critical Refusals, Part 1

Lauren Langman
Pages 349-374
DOI: 10.5840/radphilrev201316128

Capitalism, Crises, and "Great Refusals"
Critical Theory, Social Movements, and Utopian Visions

“Great refusals,” the progressive movements that shattered the status quo, can be best understood through the prism of critical theory that sees these mobilizations as responses to the legitimation crises of advanced capitalism that migrated into the realms of subjectivity, rendering identity a contested terrain while eliciting powerful emotions that impelled social mobilizations. Among these emotions, rooted in the Freudo-Marxist philosophical anthropology that enabled the critique of alienated labor, is the capacity for hope. And central to that notion of hope is a vision of utopian possibility in which membership in democratic, identity granting/recognizing communities of meaning allows for the creative self-realization of all.