Definition of Reification:

Reification refers to the process of treating abstract concepts or ideas as if they were concrete, tangible objects or entities. It involves attributing physical form or characteristics to something that is abstract in nature.

Meaning and Explanation:

Reification occurs when abstract concepts, such as feelings, thoughts, or relationships, are treated as if they have a material existence. It involves transforming intangible concepts into concrete entities, often through language or cognitive processes.


An example of reification is when someone talks about “the economy” as if it were a living entity that can act and think. In reality, the economy is an abstract concept that represents the interactions and transactions among individuals, but it does not possess physical attributes like decision-making abilities.

Origins and Influences:

The concept of reification has roots in philosophy, particularly in the works of Karl Marx and Georg Lukács. Marx used the term to describe the process by which social relationships and human actions are transformed into things or commodities in capitalist societies. Lukács expanded on Marx’s ideas and applied reification to the realm of consciousness and self-perception.

Implications and Consequences:

Reification can have several implications and consequences. It can lead to the ascription of false or misleading properties to abstract concepts, distorting our understanding of reality. It can also reinforce stereotypes and essentialism by treating complex social constructs as simple, fixed entities.


Reification involves treating abstract concepts as if they were concrete objects, attributing physical form or characteristics to something that is inherently intangible. Understanding the concept of reification helps us critically analyze the ways in which language, perception, and social systems can shape our understanding of the world.