Major Papers


Marcuse, Technological Rationality, Containment, Liberation, The New Sensibility, Social Change


Western civilization is one of the most advanced civilizations to date. The resources to meet the basic life requirements of all members of society. However, the struggle to survive and meet one’s basic needs persist. Herbert Marcuse argued that the reason social change is not enacted is because humanity is effectively being contained. Containment is the tendency’s in society that condition the behaviours, rationality and nature of human beings; which causes the compliance with an immoral and irrational society. This analysis addresses the major forms of containment Marcuse identified. This includes the subtle nature of social control, the false idea that individuals in Western society no longer need to be liberated, the change in the master slave relationship between owners and workers, the psychological dimensions of containment and most importantly technological rationality. This project argues that there forces in industrial capitalist society that prevent constructive changes to the quality of human life and freedom. It is imperative that critical theorists and humanity understand and dissolution themselves from the oppressive conditions in our world today. This can be done through creating a new sensibility in individuals and the redirection of technology towards the intentional use of the available material and intellectual resources to satisfy basic needs on a global scale to bring about a truly human society.

Primary Advisor

Dr. Jeff Noonan

Program Reader

Dr. Radu Neculau

Degree Name

Master of Arts



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year