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the interpretation of an abstract general concept (e.g. the STATE) as ‘real’, especially when this is considered to be done illegitimately or misleadingly Thus METHODOLOGICAL INDIVIDUALISTS may take the view that others, e.g. functionalists, reify general concepts such as 'society’ or 'structure. Use of the term originated within MARXISM to refer to the tendency of many non-Marxists, as well as some Marxists, to attribute a rigid ‘thinglike’ status to what should more properly be seen as a complex and changing set of social relationships (see CAPITAL, COMMODITY FETISHISM). However, one sociologist's unacceptable reification may be perfectly acceptable to another. If all general concepts are considered abstract but with a potentially ‘real’ reference, any hard and fast distinction between legitimate and illegitimate reification collapses. Thus there is no standard line in sociology on what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable forms of reification.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a philosophical and sociological concept introduced by K. Marx, referring to a historically transitional form of social relations in which relations between people assume the appearance of relations between things.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Reification also enhances security of property rights from competing claims.
The fetishistic character of economic forms, the reification of all human relations, the constant expansion and extension of the division of labour which subjects the process of production to an abstract, rational analysis, without regard to the human potentialities and abilities of the immediate producers, all these things transform the phenomena of society and with them the way in which they are perceived.
La reification du lien contractuel en droit des assurances A.
Reification therefore seems to be, at least to me, the film's fundamental sense and its most important theme.
According to Lambert Zuidervaart, mimesis in Aesthetic Theory refers to "an archaic openness to the other, to the disparate and diffuse and contrary;" mimetic openness, which, because of the condition of total reification in capitalist society, has been driven away from everyday experience as well as from rational knowledge production, "lives on in artworks whose form accommodates the conflicting impulses of their content".
Another example of how narrative inquiry disrupts reification can be seen in the complementary and conflicting representations that multiple stories from the project create.
Wenger (1998) describes the process of reification as central to every practice.
Brown argues that Kane's novel, in its consideration of subjectivity, "embodies its own critique," because while it presents a utopian aesthetic ideal that is only reachable through reification, the ending of the novel points to the fact that the main character's solution is purely subjective, not applicable to anyone else, and can only be realized in the afterlife.
After reification comes conflation: given the definition of tafsir above and the gloss of this word as "commentary" or "explanation" (exegesis), the two became ever identified with one another in a syzygy that had the effect of chastening the scriptural culture of Islam even as it marginalized competing approaches to the Book.
Another characteristic of reification is an increased tendency to live vicariously, creating a gap between the individual and reality increasingly bridged only through vision.
Readers enlightened by such formulations as 'a paradigmatic site for fetishistic reification' (p.
Thus, for me, the unity that underlies the physical universe results from the reification of God's grand idea for an evolving universe that combines fixed rules, trial and error and human agency.