International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Volume



ISBN n/a


Vol. 9 (2)

Edited by

Saulius Jurga, Konstantinos Kavoulakos

A key philosophical theme across traditions including German Idealism, Marxism, critical theory, phenomenology, and existentialism, “reification” (from the Latin res, meaning “thing”) refers to a process whereby phenomena that do not possess thing-like characteristics, such as psyche, consciousness, personhood, personal abilities and capacities, and social relations, are regarded as things. The definition of such thinghood varies among thinkers as diverse as Marx, Simmel, Husserl, Heidegger, Schutz, Lukács, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Paci, Gabel, Goldmann, Habermas, Feenberg, and Honneth, depending on their overall theoretical preferences. For some, the res of reification may refer, for example, to natural things, which belong to the realm of objects and are to be explained on the grounds of natural-scientific procedures; for others, thinghood is a result of complex cultural processes, such as historical sedimentations of social relations and practices that eventually acquire a quasi-natural status via conventions, identities, laws, and institutions. More recently, reification has sometimes been conceived in terms of communicative failure, social pathology, misrecognition, disengagement, and cognitive and affective upset, but such approaches to the concept have also attracted criticism for obscuring the social and economic levels of reifying structures. Finally, the phenomenon of reification has been also linked both to the prevalence of formalistic reason in philosophical discourse and the technological domination of nature and society. In this sense, the concept of reification has acquired new relevance in contemporary theoretical debates, resulting in a proliferation of publications unmatched in decades. In this issue of Metodo, authors are invited to interrogate the origin, meaning, and legacy of the concept of reification, as well as to explore the various forms reification assumes in theory and practice.

Deadline: Saturday 31st July 2021

Metodo: International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy  is seeking papers exploring the concept of reification  at  the  intersection  of  epistemology,  aesthetics,  ethics,  social  and  political  philosophy,  the philosophy  of  technology,  philosophical  anthropology,  and  critical  race,  class,  gender,  and  sexuality studies.

In this issue of Metodo, authors are invited to interrogate the origin, meaning, and legacy of the concept of reification, as well as to explore the various forms reification assumes in theory and practice. Among other questions, the contributors should ask themselves:

• What does it mean for someone or something to be reified?

• Is reification a descriptive, diagnostic, or normative concept?

• How can phenomena such as the self, consciousness, personality, affective life, intersubjective relationships, and natural objects be reified?

• What concrete social and natural forms of reification can we identify in our world?

• What is the structure of self-reification?

• What is the origin of reifying phenomena as such?

• Is reification a natural way of experiencing ourselves, other subjects, and the world we inhabit? Or does it offer a distorted picture of reality rooted in methodological inconsistencies and erroneous epistemic attitudes?

• Can reification be defined in terms of social pathologies, normative dysfunctions, or legal and policy-related failures?

• What are the effects of reification on personhood, societies, nature, and economies?

• Are the theoretical and practical aspects of reification intertwined and, as such, do we need a more holistic understanding of the concept?

• What role does the concept of reification play in contemporary debate?


Topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Intersections and differences between phenomenological and critical-theoretical approaches to reification, as well as novel theoretical perspectives resulting from their dialogue;

• The possibility or otherwise of reconciling normative, anthropological, and historical accounts of reification;

• The communicative turn in critical theory and its repercussions on the traditional notion of reification, as well as the relevance of aesthetic, psychoanalytical, socio-pathological, and pragmatist readings of reification for contemporary philosophical debate;

• Reification in theories inspired by the traditions of German Idealism, Marxism, and existentialism, with particular attention paid to how the concept of reification relates to and differs from those of objectification, alienation, and estrangement;

• Interpretations of reification from the perspective of critical race, class, gender, and sexuality studies and the impact of these perspectives on traditional views of reification;

• The relevance of the concept of reification for the philosophy of technology and various strands of applied ethics.


Confirmed contributors:

• Andrew Feenberg

• Todd Hedrick

• Christoph Henning

• Christian Lotz

• Bryan Smyth

• James Swindal

• Ádám Takács

• Michael J. Thompson

• Richard Westerman


Abstracts and papers should be submitted to the following e-mail address:

Submitted papers (in English, German, French, Spanish, or Italian) must be in accordance with the basic principles of Metodo and follow the Author Guidelines. All submitted articles are subjected to a doubleblind peer-review process and sent for external anonymous peer-review. Authors are thus required to prepare their submissions for anonymous review. The editorial board advises authors writing articles in foreign languages (not native speakers) to have their texts proofread and revised prior to submission.

The final deadline for submissions will be July 31, 2021.

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