Struggles over dignity and dignity denial are a central facet of class struggles and other struggles under capitalism. Marxist theory, however, has not developed an adequate understanding of dignity denial or of struggles against it as a crucial part of capitalism and its dialectic. This paper discusses dignity denial as inherent both in a society based on commodity production for profit and also in the political, ideational, and social implications of capitalist production. It shows how struggles against such dignity denial are also inherent in capitalism. Finally, the paper suggests that an enhanced appreciation for and theorization of dignity denial and the struggles around it can help when framing issues for concrete conflict situations and can also help the development of firmer and better visions of a future socialism.
Dignity denial and social conflicts