Reification

I’m reading Frederic Jameson, a Marxist critic, for a presentation for lit theory tonight. This guy is complicated and brilliant and fascinating, but I have to stop at the end of every sentence and break down what he says (and sometimes those sentences go on and on and on and on…).

As a result of his brilliance, I keep stumbling across words I’ve never seen before. Right now, I’m puzzling over the word “reification.”

The root word is “reify,” a verb meaning to make an abstract concept more concrete (something I’ve been doing with every sentence of Jameson’s that I’ve read).

But when I first read the word, I thought, “Who decided that we could ‘if’ again?” Yeah, that’s weird, I know, but Jameson is making up words, so maybe.

The word is actually derived from the Latin root re-, which means “thing.” So…”reify” essentially means to “thing-ify.”

And this is a scholarly word.  Who are these people who make these words? And how can I be one of them?