Saturday, October 17, 2015

Affective Reproduction: Thinking Transindividuality in an Age of Individualism

Paper Presented at the Affect Theory Conference

One of the many theoretical and practical promises of the so-called “affective turn” in social and political thought is that it makes it possible to conceptualize the social and political dimensions of the most intimate aspects of experience. Or, put differently, it makes it possible to think of the way in which political and economic structures can only exist, can only reproduce themselves, if they do so at the level of affects and desire. The reconceptualization that I am referring to here is not to be confused with a reduction of the individual to the mere effects of structural conditions and relations, in which individuals become simply bearers of economic and political functions, nor is it a reduction of politics and economics to individual experiences and intentions, a kind of intimate theatre of micro-politics that never becomes macro. It is a matter of thinking the mutual implication of the individual and the collective, or in a word, transindividuality. 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

What the Shopkeeper Knows: Reading Contemporary Capitalism

Whilst in ordinary life every shopkeeper is very well able to distinguish between what somebody professes to be and what he really is, our historians have not yet won even this trivial insight. They take every epoch at its word and believe that everything it says imagines about itself is true. 
--Marx and Engels, The German Ideology
One of the persistent themes in Peter Fleming's The Mythology of Work: How Capitalism Persists Despite Itself is a critique of Lordon's Willing Slaves of Capital. What is criticized is not the particular synthesis of Marx and Spinoza, but how Lordon reads management literature. Fleming criticizes Lordon for taking management discourse at its word, for seeing motivation and the various demands to "love one's job" as something other than smokescreens for a strategy of fear and anxiety.