What does "democratization of function" (Marcuse) mean?


"This is the one point at which the technological and the critical rationality seem to converge, for the technological process implies a democratization of functions."

"... possible democratization of functions which technics may promote and which may facilitate complete human development in all branches of work and administration."

From Some Social Implications of Modern Technology, Herbert Marcuse.

Question: What does Herbert Marcuse mean by "democratization of function"? I can't find it mentioned anywhere in the web, thus this phrase must have been unpopular, notwithstanding being mentioned repeatedly in Marcuse's essay. Or does "democratization" have any general meaning in critical theory?

Thanks in advance.

Edit: From Google, Democratization

  • the introduction of a democratic system or democratic principles.
  • the action of making something accessible to everyone.

Clearly, Marcuse did not mean the first definition.


Posted 2020-12-01T03:53:03.723

Reputation: 43

Good question, +1. I guess the fact that there is nothing to be found on the internet is due to Marcuse not being overly popular in general, even among adherents of critical theory/the Frankfurt School. – Philip Klöcking – 2020-12-01T09:42:12.633

Function is the word that needs attention. Explicit examples are in Marcuse's text just before he writes about "an obstacle to the general democratization of functions". Actually they are transferred by quoting Znaniecki's Social Role of Man of Knowledge (n.25), a text searchable (for occurrences of Function) in googlebooks. – sand1 – 2020-12-01T10:42:55.717

Given the fact that Marcuse is an egalitarian, your second definition seems to fit nicely. – JacobIRR – 2020-12-03T15:38:22.133

No answers