Walter Benjamin’s communism

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What does ‘communism’ mean in Walter Benjamin’s writing? It has been used in some quarters to claim that Benjamin has a quasi-Marxist theory of communist society. This paper will argue instead that Benjamin’s communism is framed by his distinctive conception of experience and that it is understandable only through that conception. Benjamin’s image of ‘communist society’ refers to a specific type of experience (‘collective experience’) rather than a type of social organization. The paper discusses the conceptual background of that image and also points out a number of the difficulties that Benjamin’s conception of collective experience faces given its genesis in a model of individual experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-39
Number of pages24
JournalThesis Eleven
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • collective experience
  • communism
  • experimentation
  • revolution
  • Walter Benjamin

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