Volume 19, Issue 1, 2016
Refusing One-Dimensionality, Part 1
Marcuse’s "Transcendent Project" at 50
"Post-Technological Rationality" for Our Times
This article sets out to revisit Herbert Marcuse’s “transcendent project” of liberation, as well as his notion of “post-technological rationality,” which grounded this project, articulated in outline form in the last section of One-Dimensional Man and in fragments throughout his middle writings between 1955 and 1972. The aim is to assess this project’s continued validity for the struggle for alternatives to the disorganizations and enclosures of neoliberal capitalism and its perpetual moments of crises. This article first reviews Marcuse’s place within substantivist critiques of technology. It then works through how Marcuse’s “post-technological rationality”—the other side of his technology critique—envisions social change happening via a rerationalized, revalued, and reaestheticized technological base spurred by the openings for alternatives made possible by a reconstituted subjectivity, determinate negation, and moments of crisis.