The Commodity Form in Cognitive Capitalism
Culture and Organization, Vol. 18, No. 5, December 2012, 377–395
20 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2013 Last revised: 11 Mar 2014
Date Written: January 1, 2012
We revisit the Marxist debate on the commodity form. By following the thought of Alfred Sohn-Rethel and Slavoj Zizek, we attempt to understand the commodity form through the Kantian categories a priori. Sohn-Rethel explores the proposition that there can be no cognition independent of its historical and social conditions and puts forward the daring conclusion of an ontological unity between knowledge and commodity exchange. We suggest that Sohn-Rethel’s thought finds new relevance nowadays, under the prevalence of a cognitive capitalism. We discuss the reformulation of relations of production and consumption under cognitive capitalism and show how knowledge-led immaterial and affective labour adds a higher value to the commodities into which it is embodied. Above all, the commodity form in cognitive capitalism becomes biopolitical.
Keywords: commodity form, cognitive capitalism, Sohn-Rethel, immaterial and affective labour
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