Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Praxis School

Praxis School

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Praxis School'
Start a new discussion about 'Praxis School'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Praxis school was a Marxist humanist
Marxist humanism
Marxist humanism is a branch of Marxism that primarily focuses on Marx's earlier writings, especially the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 in which Marx espoused his theory of alienation, as opposed to his later works, which are considered to be concerned more with his structural...

 philosophical movement. It originated in Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 and Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 in the SFR Yugoslavia, during the 1960s.

Prominent figures among the school's founders include Gajo Petrović
Gajo Petrovic
Gajo Petrović was one of the main theorists in the Marxist humanist Praxis School in the SFR Yugoslavia. He was the only one among the editors of the Praxis journal to stay in this position throughout the journal's publication...

 and Milan Kangrga
Milan Kangrga
Milan Kangrga was a Croatian and Yugoslav philosopher who was one of the leading thinkers in the Praxis school of thought which originated in the 1960s in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia....

 of Zagreb and Mihailo Marković
Mihailo Markovic
Mihailo Marković, PhD was a Serbian philosopher. He was born in Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes...

 of Belgrade. From 1964 to 1974 they published the Marxist journal Praxis, which was renowned as one of the leading international journals in Marxist theory. The group also organized the widely popular Korčula Summer School in the island of Korčula
Korcula
Korčula is an island in the Adriatic Sea, in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County of Croatia. The island has an area of ; long and on average wide — and lies just off the Dalmatian coast. Its 16,182 inhabitants make it the second most populous Adriatic island after Krk...

.

Basic tenets


Due to the tumultuous sociopolitical conditions in the 1960s, the affirmation of 'authentic' Marxist theory and praxis, and its humanist and dialectical aspects in particular, was an urgent task for philosophers working across the SFRY. There was a need to respond to the kind of modified Marxism-Leninism enforced by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia
League of Communists of Yugoslavia
League of Communists of Yugoslavia , before 1952 the Communist Party of Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia (Serbo-Croatian: Savez komunista Jugoslavije/Савез комуниста Југославије, Slovene: Zveza komunistov Jugoslavije, Macedonian: Сојуз на комунистите на Југославија, Sojuz na...

 (see Titoism
Titoism
Titoism is a variant of Marxism–Leninism named after Josip Broz Tito, leader of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, primarily used to describe the specific socialist system built in Yugoslavia after its refusal of the 1948 Resolution of the Cominform, when the Communist Party of...

). To vocalize and therefore begin to satisfy this need, the program of Praxis school was defined in French in the first issue of the International edition of Praxis: A quoi bon Praxis. Pedrag Vranicki (On the problem of Practice) and Danko Grlić (Practice and Dogma) expanded this program in English in the same issue (Praxis, 1965, 1, p. 41-48 and p. 49-58).

The Praxis philosophers considered Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

 and Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 to be apologetic due to their ad hoc nature. Leninist and Stalinist theories were considered to be unfaithful to the Marxist theory, as they were adjusted according to the needs of the party elite and intolerant of ideological criticism.

The defining features of the school were: 1) emphasis on the writings of the young Marx
Young Marx
Some theorists consider Karl Marx's thought to be divided into a "young" period and a "mature" one. There is disagreement to when Marx's thought began to mature, and the problem of the idea of a "Young Marx" is the problem of tracking the development of Marx's works and of its possible unity...

; and 2) call for freedom of speech in both East and West based upon Marx's insistence on ruthless social critique. As Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

 has argued in his preface to Marković's work From Affluence to Praxis, the theory of the Praxis theoreticians was to "return to the real Marx as against the Marx equally distorted by right wing social democrats and Stalinists".

Different theorists emphasized different aspects of the theory. Where Mihailo Marković writes of alienation and the dynamic nature of human beings, Petrović writes of philosophy as radical critique of all existing things, emphasizing the essentially creative and practical nature of human beings. Milan Kangrga emphasizes creativity as well, but also the understanding of human beings as producers humanizing nature.

Another defining feature of the Praxis theory is the incorporation of existential
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

 philosophy into the Praxis brand of Marxist social critique, spearheaded by Rudi Supek
Rudi Supek
Rudi Supek was a Croatian sociologist and a member of the Praxis School of Marxism.Supek studied philosophy in Zagreb and graduated in 1937. He went to study clinical psychology in Paris, where he was when World War II erupted...

.

Organizing Korčula Summer School and publishing the international edition of Praxis were ways to promote open inquiry in accordance with these postulates. Erich Fromm's collection of articles from 1965 entitled Socialist Humanism: An International Symposium has been of much help in promoting the Praxis school. As many as six members of the Praxis school have published articles in this collection: Marković, Petrović, Danilo Pejović
Danilo Pejovic
Danilo Pejović was a Croatian philosopher.During the World War II, in 1943, Pejović joined the National Liberation Army in its fight against the occupying forces of Yugoslavia. He continued his education after the war, graduating with a degree in philosophy at the University in Zagreb in 1953...

, Veljko Korać, Rudi Supek
Rudi Supek
Rudi Supek was a Croatian sociologist and a member of the Praxis School of Marxism.Supek studied philosophy in Zagreb and graduated in 1937. He went to study clinical psychology in Paris, where he was when World War II erupted...

 and Predrag Vranicki
Predrag Vranicki
Predrag Vranicki was a Marxist Humanist and member of the Praxis school in the 1960s in Yugoslavia.-Life:Vranicki was born in 1922, in Benkovac, Croatia. During World War II he fought with the National Liberation Army against the Fascist occupation of Yugoslavia...

.

The Praxis journal


The Praxis journal was published by a group of praxis theoreticians, mainly from Zagreb University. It was published in two editions: Yugoslav and foreign. The first issue of the Yugoslav edition was published on 1 September 1964 and was published until 1974. As for the foreign edition, it was published between 1965 and 1973. Its founders were Branko Bošnjak
Branko Bošnjak
Branko Bošnjak was a Croatian philosopher, member of the Praxis school in the former Yugoslavia. Bošnjak was a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb and for a period a head of the Department for History of Philosophy and a dean of the faculty...

, Danko Grlić
Danko Grlic
Danko Grlić was Marxist humanist, member of the Praxis school of the former Yugoslavia.He was born in Gračanica, Bosnia and Herzegovina,but in 1931 together with his family he has moved to Zagreb...

, Milan Kangrga
Milan Kangrga
Milan Kangrga was a Croatian and Yugoslav philosopher who was one of the leading thinkers in the Praxis school of thought which originated in the 1960s in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia....

, Rudi Supek
Rudi Supek
Rudi Supek was a Croatian sociologist and a member of the Praxis School of Marxism.Supek studied philosophy in Zagreb and graduated in 1937. He went to study clinical psychology in Paris, where he was when World War II erupted...

, Gajo Petrović
Gajo Petrovic
Gajo Petrović was one of the main theorists in the Marxist humanist Praxis School in the SFR Yugoslavia. He was the only one among the editors of the Praxis journal to stay in this position throughout the journal's publication...

, Predrag Vranicki
Predrag Vranicki
Predrag Vranicki was a Marxist Humanist and member of the Praxis school in the 1960s in Yugoslavia.-Life:Vranicki was born in 1922, in Benkovac, Croatia. During World War II he fought with the National Liberation Army against the Fascist occupation of Yugoslavia...

, Danilo Pejović
Danilo Pejovic
Danilo Pejović was a Croatian philosopher.During the World War II, in 1943, Pejović joined the National Liberation Army in its fight against the occupying forces of Yugoslavia. He continued his education after the war, graduating with a degree in philosophy at the University in Zagreb in 1953...

 and Ivan Kuvačić
Ivan Kuvačić
Ivan Kuvačić is a Croatian Marxist sociologist and a professor emeritus at Zagreb University. He was a member of the advisory board of Praxis.-References:...

. The first editors of the journal were Petrović and Pejović, but in 1966 Pejović resigned from Praxis. After that, Supek was the co-editor of the journal together with Petrović. In January 1974 Supek also resigned and was replaced by Kuvačić as the co-editor of Praxis.

Praxis has helped to restore the creative potential of Marxism. It drew inspiration from the works of Antonio Gramsci
Antonio Gramsci
Antonio Gramsci was an Italian writer, politician, political philosopher, and linguist. He was a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime...

, Karl Korsch
Karl Korsch
-Biography:Korsch was born in Tostedt, near Hamburg, to Carl August Korsch, a secretary at the cantonal court and his wife Therese. In 1898 the family moved to Meiningen, Thuringia and Korsch senior attained the position of a managing clerk in a bank...

, Georg Lukács
Georg Lukács
György Lukács was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic. He is a founder of the tradition of Western Marxism. He contributed the concept of reification to Marxist philosophy and theory and expanded Karl Marx's theory of class consciousness. Lukács' was also an influential literary...

, Ernst Bloch
Ernst Bloch
Ernst Bloch was a German Marxist philosopher.Bloch was influenced by both Hegel and Marx and, as he always confessed, by novelist Karl May. He was also interested in music and art . He established friendships with Georg Lukács, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and Theodor W. Adorno...

, Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse was a German Jewish philosopher, sociologist and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory...

, Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

 and Lucien Goldmann
Lucien Goldmann
Lucien Goldmann was a French philosopher and sociologist of Jewish-Romanian origin...

. The texts in the magazine featured articles by writers from both the East and the West. Praxis editors had a strong tendency to publish articles that went against the Leninist theory and praxis promoted and enforced by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia
League of Communists of Yugoslavia
League of Communists of Yugoslavia , before 1952 the Communist Party of Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia (Serbo-Croatian: Savez komunista Jugoslavije/Савез комуниста Југославије, Slovene: Zveza komunistov Jugoslavije, Macedonian: Сојуз на комунистите на Југославија, Sojuz na...

.

Korčula Summer School


Korčula Summer School was preceded by a symposium organized by Gajo Petrovic and Milan Kangrga in the summer of 1963 in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

. The summer school was organized by the publishers of the journal Praxis from 1964 to 1974 in the Croatian island of Korčula
Korcula
Korčula is an island in the Adriatic Sea, in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County of Croatia. The island has an area of ; long and on average wide — and lies just off the Dalmatian coast. Its 16,182 inhabitants make it the second most populous Adriatic island after Krk...

, with the exception of 1966, when the gathering was cancelled due to the intense attacks by the League of Communists of Croatia.

The school was a meeting place for philosophers and social critics from the entire world. Some of the prominent attendees included Ernst Bloch
Ernst Bloch
Ernst Bloch was a German Marxist philosopher.Bloch was influenced by both Hegel and Marx and, as he always confessed, by novelist Karl May. He was also interested in music and art . He established friendships with Georg Lukács, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and Theodor W. Adorno...

, Eugen Fink
Eugen Fink
Eugen Fink was a German philosopher.-Biography:Fink was born in 1905 as the son of a government official in Germany. He spent his first school years with an uncle who was a catholic priest. Fink attended a gymnasium in Konstanz where he succeeded with his extraordinary memory...

, Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

, Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse was a German Jewish philosopher, sociologist and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory...

, Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

, Henri Lefebvre
Henri Lefebvre
Henri Lefebvre was a French sociologist, Marxist intellectual, and philosopher, best known for his work on dialectics, Marxism, everyday life, cities, and space.-Biography:...

, Richard J. Bernstein
Richard J. Bernstein
Richard J. Bernstein is an American philosopher, the Vera List Professor of Philosophy and former dean of the graduate faculty at The New School....

 and Shlomo Avineri
Shlomo Avineri
Shlomo Avineri is an Israeli political scientist. He is Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

, to name a few. Another peculiarity is that one of the attendants was from the Vatican, Father Gustav Wetter, which testifies to the fact that Korčula Summer School was not merely a Marxist symposium - the attendees held interests ranging from phenomenology to theology.

The articles produced during the meeting were published in the journal during the following year. Each summer, the gathering focused on a particular topic:
  • 1963: Progress and Culture (held in Dubrovnik
    Dubrovnik
    Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

    )
  • 1964: Meaning and Perspectives of Socialism
  • 1965: What is History?
  • 1966: The summer school was canceled due to the intense attacks by the League of Communists of Croatia
  • 1967: Creativity and Creation
  • 1968: Marx and Revolution
  • 1969: Power and Humanity
  • 1970: Hegel and Our Time (celebrating the anniversary of 200 years since Hegel's birth)
  • 1971: Utopia and Reality
  • 1972: Freedom and Equality
  • 1973: The Essence and Limits of Civil Society
  • 1974: Art in a Technologized World

The aftermath


Due to its critical nature - the editors and authors were referred to as "professional Anti-Communists" and "enemies of self-managing socialism" - the journal was banned on several occasions. By 1975 it became impossible to publish the journal under the increasingly repressive conditions in SFRY. In the same year, in January, eight university professors, members of the Praxis school (Mihailo Marković, Ljubomir Tadić
Ljubomir Tadic
Ljubomir "Ljuba" Tadić is a law graduate and a professor of philosophy at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy as well as a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts...

, Zagorka Golubović, Svetozar Stojanović
Svetozar Stojanović
Svetozar "Sveta" Stojanović was a Serbian philosopher and political theorist....

, Miladin Životić, Dragoljub Mićunović
Dragoljub Micunovic
Dragoljub Mićunović, PhD is a prominent Serbian politician and philosopher.-Early life:...

, Nebojša Popov and Trivo Inđić) were expelled from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade on the basis of a decision of the Serbian Assembly.

The Praxis members tried in several occasions to resume publishing of Praxis and reopening Korčula Summer School. Their efforts failed, which was the main motive for several Praxis members to try to publish the journal abroad. They succeeded in achieving this and by April 1981, the Praxis International journal was edited and published in Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 in the spirit of the original Praxis journal. However, not all Praxis members supported this move. This move was supported by four members of the editorial board of the Praxis: Supek, Marković, Tadić and Stojanović. The majority of the Praxis theorists, however, led by Kangrga, disagreed on the basis of the fact that an international journal with the same or similar name as the original journal would reduce the possibilities of republishing the journal inside Yugoslavia. First co-editors of Praxis International were Richard J. Bernstein
Richard J. Bernstein
Richard J. Bernstein is an American philosopher, the Vera List Professor of Philosophy and former dean of the graduate faculty at The New School....

 and Mihailo Marković. From 1986 the co-editors were Seyla Benhabib
Seyla Benhabib
Seyla Benhabib is Eugene Mayer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, and director of the program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics, and a well-known contemporary philosopher. She is the author of several books, most notably about the philosophers Hannah Arendt and...

 and Svetozar Stojanović.

Praxis International was published until January 1994 when it continued to be published under the name Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory.

Influence


The influence of the Praxis school is mainly through its intellectual legacy as a heterodox interpretation of Marxism. This interpretation has been popular among Western Marxists
Western Marxism
Western Marxism is a term used to describe a wide variety of Marxist theoreticians based in Western and Central Europe, in contrast with philosophy in the Soviet Union...

 and academics, notably Marshall Berman
Marshall Berman
Marshall Berman is an American philosopher and Marxist Humanist writer. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The City College of New York and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, teaching Political Philosophy and Urbanism.-Biography:An alumnus of...

, who references the Praxis group in his major works. Many praxis theoreticians taught at various universities in Europe and US. The praxis approach was appealing to Western academia due to its emphasis on the dialectical, humanist Marx.

See also


  • Praxis intervention
    Praxis intervention
    Praxis Intervention is a form of participatory action research. Where other forms of participatory action research emphasize the collective modification of the external world, the praxis intervention model emphasizes working on the Praxis potential of its participants...

  • Novi Plamen
    Novi Plamen
    Novi Plamen is a left-wing magazine for political, social and cultural issues primarily aimed at intellectual audiences on the territory of the former Yugoslavia and the related diaspora. It is a leading publication of its kind in the region, published by the Demokratska misao publishing company...

     - a new magazine drawing from the Praxis tradition
  • Critical theory
    Critical theory
    Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...


External links