The commodity form in cognitive capitalism

Culture and Organization 18 (4):377-395 (2012)
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Abstract

We revisit the Marxist debate on the commodity form. By following the thought of Alfred Sohn-Rethel and Slavoj Žižek, 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

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