Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Examples of "reification"

Peter Schaefer in "iPod and Philosophy" mentions Marx's concept of "reification," or verdinglichung, which translates to "thingification."

That refers to the ways in which the all-powerful market reduces workers to quantifiable "labor" hours, stripping away all individuality, while simultaneously giving human qualities to the manufactured products, such as iPhones or iPods, whatever gadgets that people tend to love as much as living things. This anthropomorphication seems funny or cute on the surface but disturbing in its transference of humanity. Most of the people in China who make iPods could never afford one.

Look at this current Honda commercial, for example, which treats a car like a beloved pet:

Or this Zagg commercial for the Invisible Shield to protect an iPhone, like a loved one:

Does this raise any issues for you?

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