For a New Critique of Political Economy
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For a New Critique of Political Economy

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The catastrophic economic, social and political crisis of our time calls for a new and original critique of political economy - a rethinking of Marx's project in the very different conditions of twenty-first century capitalism.
Stiegler argues that today the proletarian must be reconceptualized as the economic agent whose knowledge and memory are confiscated by machines. This new sense of the term proletarian' is best understood by reference to Plato's critique of exteriorized memory. By bringing together Plato and Marx, Stiegler can show how a generalized proletarianization now encompasses not only the muscular system, as Marx saw it, but also the nervous system of the so-called creative workers in the information industries. The proletarians of the former are deprived of their practical know-how, whereas the latter are shorn of their theoretical practice, and both suffer from a confiscation of the very possibility of a genuine art of living.
But the mechanisms at work in this new and accentuated form of proletarianization are the very mechanisms that may spur a reversal of the process. Such a reversal would imply a crucial distinction between one's life work, originating in otium (leisure devoted to the techniques of the self), and the job, consisting in a negotium (the negotiation and calculation, increasingly restricted to short-term expectations), leading to the necessity of a new conception of economic value.
This short text offers an excellent introduction to Stiegler's work while at the same time representing a political call to arms in the face of a deepening economic and social crisis.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 100 pages
  • 124 x 190 x 10mm | 174g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 0745648045
  • 9780745648040
  • 204,400

Back cover copy

The catastrophic economic, social and political crisis of our timecalls for a new and original critique of political economy Ð arethinking of Marx's project in the very different conditionsof twenty-first century capitalism.

Stiegler argues that today the proletarian must be reconceptualizedas the economic agent whose knowledge and memory are confiscated bymachines. This new sense of the term 'proletarian' isbest understood by reference to Plato's critique ofexteriorized memory. By bringing together Plato and Marx, Stieglercan show how a generalized proletarianization now encompasses notonly the muscular system, as Marx saw it, but also the nervoussystem of the so-called creative workers in the informationindustries. The proletarians of the former are deprived of theirpractical know-how, whereas the latter are shorn of theirtheoretical practice, and both suffer from a confiscation of thevery possibility of a genuine art of living.

But the mechanisms at work in this new and accentuated form ofproletarianization are the very mechanisms that may spur a reversalof the process. Such a reversal would imply a crucial distinctionbetween one's life work, originating in otium (leisuredevoted to the techniques of the self), and the job, consisting ina negotium (the negotiation and calculation, increasinglyrestricted to short-term expectations), leading to the necessity ofa new conception of economic value.

This short text offers an excellent introduction toStiegler's work while at the same time representing apolitical call to arms in the face of a deepening economic andsocial crisis.
show more

Review Text

"Passionate, rigorous, and fundamental, this is a key part of Stiegler's urgent and vitally important diagnosis of our contemporary predicament."
Martin Crowley, University of Cambridge
"Stiegler's critique of political economy provides the theoretical resources to understand how technologies have reconstituted memory and subjectivity, renewing modes of domination and generating new forms of collectivity. In the midst of a crisis of Western neo-liberalism, this path-breaking book could not come at a more opportune time. Eat your heart out Slavoj Zizek!"
Scott Lash, Goldsmiths, University of London
"Stiegler's writings emerge as the real world antidote to the utopian and apocalyptic traces of post-politics in figures like the 'multitude,' 'biopolitics,' or Zizek's recent Christo-communist imaginary. He is one of the few contemporaries capable of addressing a new era whose epistemological mutations are just beginning to appear."
Tom Cohen, State University of New York
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Review quote

"Passionate, rigorous, and fundamental, this is a key part of Stiegler's urgent and vitally important diagnosis of our contemporary predicament." Martin Crowley, University of Cambridge "Stiegler's critique of political economy provides the theoretical resources to understand how technologies have reconstituted memory and subjectivity, renewing modes of domination and generating new forms of collectivity. In the midst of a crisis of Western neo-liberalism, this path-breaking book could not come at a more opportune time. Eat your heart out Slavoj ?i?ek!" Scott Lash, Goldsmiths, University of London "Stiegler's writings emerge as the real world antidote to the utopian and apocalyptic traces of post-politics in figures like the 'multitude,' 'biopolitics,' or ?i?ek's recent Christo-communist imaginary. He is one of the few contemporaries capable of addressing a new era whose epistemological mutations are just beginning to appear." Tom Cohen, State University of New York
show more

About Bernard Stiegler

Bernard Stiegler is cultural development department director for the
Centre Georges-Pompidou.
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Rating details

57 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 32% (18)
4 39% (22)
3 16% (9)
2 12% (7)
1 2% (1)
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