Teaching a very Marcusean Piketty
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Citation of Original PublicationEngel, S. (2015). Teaching a very Marcusean Piketty. Paper presented at the 2015 International Herbert Marcuse Society Conference, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD.
Marcuse, Herbert, 1898-1979
This paper proposes a pedagogy using Thomas Piketty's data on economic inequality as a starting point towards a Marcusean project. The centerpiece of this pedagogy is the transfer of Piketty's credibility in presenting 'hard' facts to a social and political project of refusal. To this end, I propose a four-step approach. First, I propose a discussion of Piketty's data within one-dimensional scientistic language. Secondly, I suggest a transfer of credibility from the numbers on inequality to the discussion of Piketty's notion of meritocratic extremism. Thirdly, this discussion takes Piketty's one-dimensional language to a point where it becomes insufficient to express the extent of the ramifications of economic inequality. Here, I introduce Marxian economics as an alternative language, showing that its hypotheses are corroborated at least in part by Piketty's data. Finally, transferring the findings of Piketty to a language outside of one-dimensional econocratic thought also introduces a new political horizon.