Who is Marshall Berman?June 26, 2021
Marshall Berman (b. The Bronx, New York, 1940), humanist Marxist and theorist. He teaches political theory and urban sociology at the City University of New York(en). He writes regularly for The Village Voice magazine.
Berman is in favor of understanding modernism as an unfinished, incomplete project and makes an important critical assessment against postmodernism in this direction. This approach is both a rejection of postmodernism and a re-evaluation of modernity. Modernism, according to Berman, means the evaporation of all that is solid in the sense that Karl Marx stated in the Communist Manifesto, and the process called postmodernism is not a break but a continuation of it. Therefore, according to Berman, it is necessary to re-evaluate modernism by returning to the thinkers of the previous century, not to the intellectuals of recent times. It exhibits an approach that clarifies the conceptual distinctions such as modernity, modernity and modernism and clarifies the understanding of modern thought.
In Berman’s words;
“Today, there is a vital mode of experience shared by people in all corners of the world, in other words, a mode of experience of space and time, of myself and others, of life’s possibilities and challenges. I would like to call this whole experience modernity. is to find ourselves in an environment that promises enthusiasm, growth, possibilities to transform ourselves and the world, but that also threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we are.Modern environments and experiences transcend geographical and ethnic, class and national, religious and ideological boundaries. Modernity, in this sense, can be said to unite humanity. But it is a paradoxical unity, a unity of division: it constantly drags us into a whirlpool of fragmentation and renewal, struggle and contradiction, uncertainty and pain. To be modern, in Marx’s words, means that ‘everything solid evaporates’ ‘ is to be part of a universe.”
He has a book called Politics of Authenticity: Radical Individualism and the Emergence of Modern Society. His books, Everything Solid Evaporates and My Adventure with Marxism, have been published in Turkish.