Some thoughtful responses to my earlier post on disenchantment call for a few more comments. In that post I argued that the narrative of former enchantment and later disenchantment (due to instrumental reason, capitalism, Protestantism etc) misses a crucial first step, namely that of a prior disenchantment. Enchantment becomes the anomaly in all this, so that efforts at re-enchantment are misdirected.

However, I would go a step further and argue not (as Michael Carden argues and Anne Elvey in a different fashion) that capitalism etc brings about disenchantment, but that the narrative of disenchantment itself is a product of capitalism (bouncing off Remy Low). The key here is Lukacs’s argument concerning that very modern development – the novel: one of its defining features was the sense of a world abandoned by God. In other words, the narrative of enchantment-disenchantment is a signal feature of a modern capitalist world, a narrative created by it in the first place. Ergo, the possibility of re-enchantment is generated out of this same narrative. Overcoming capitalism is not a case of re-enchanting the world (or at least one feature of it) but requires dumping the narrative too, for otherwise we stay within the logic of capitalism.

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