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Micro-Politics of Capital, The

Marx and the Prehistory of the Present

Jason Read

Publication Year: 2003

What is the relation between the economy, or the mode of production, and culture, beliefs, and desires? How is it possible to think of these relations without reducing one to the other, or effacing one for the sake of the other? To answer these questions, The Micro-Politics of Capital re-reads Marx in light of the contemporary critical interrogations of subjectivity in the works of Althusser, Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault, and Negri. Jason Read suggests that what characterizes contemporary capitalism is the intimate intersection of the production of commodities with the production of desire, beliefs, and knowledge.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title page Copyright apge

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I thank Meredith Michaels and Bill Haver for helping me develop my questions and research at an early stage and, more important, for giving me at least the image of what it might mean to live a life dedicated to the practice of interrogation and reflection. I thank explicitly all of those who read and reread sections of this project in its many guises—from dissertation and manuscript...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

At the exact moment in time in which capitalism, as ideology, practice, and economy, has penetrated all dimensions of social life, announcing its victory on newsstands and broadcasts across the globe, the critique of capital, of political economy, has for the most part disappeared...

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One: The Use and Disadvantage of Prehistory for Life: Marx’s “Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations” and the Constitution of the Subject of Labor

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pp. 19-60

It is a matter of common knowledge that Karl Marx presents the difference between his analysis and all previous (bourgeois) understandings of political economy as a historical versus an ahistorical conception of capitalism. What is considerably less certain is how Marx, or those who came after him, understood this disparity; that is, What are its theoretical grounds and what were or could be its effects in the realm of philosophy

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Two: What Is Living and What is Dead in the Philosophy of Karl Marx: The Politics and Ontology of Living Labor

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pp. 61-102

For Karl Marx the two constitutive components of the capitalist mode of production are labor, or the capacity for labor freed from the means of its employment, and wealth, freed from the objective means of its investment. The capitalist mode of production is formed in the encounter between a free flow of labor and a flow of undifferentiated wealth...

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Three: The Real Subsumption of Subjectivity by Capital

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pp. 103-152

In the discarded draft of the sixth section of Capital entitled “Results of the Immediate Process of Production” two problems appear in close proximity, which can be described broadly as follows: first, an investigation into the subjective conditions and effects of the development of the capitalist mode of production, and second, the tendency or development of the capitalist mode of production, its internal historicity. Even though these two problems...

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Conclusion

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pp. 153-162

As I have argued the capitalist mode of production is constituted through the violence of primitive accumulation. However, the lessons of primitive accumulation are not limited to a simple reversal of values, replacing the idyllic narrative of the foundation of capital with its bloody origins, rather Karl Marx’s treatment of primitive accumulation opens the door to another reading of not only Capital but the entire trajectory of Marx’s thought...

Notes

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pp. 163-198

Bibliography

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pp. 199-208

Index

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pp. 209-213


E-ISBN-13: 9780791486245
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791458433
Print-ISBN-10: 0791458431

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2003

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Production (Economic theory).
  • Intellectual capital.
  • Post-communism.
  • Postmodernism.
  • Marx, Karl, 1818-1883.
  • Marxian economics.
  • Philosophy, Marxist.
  • Economics -- Philosophy.
  • Capitalism -- Political aspects.
  • Subjectivity.
  • Althusser, Louis, 1918-1990.
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