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Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Filed Under | 11 Comments
hiya Keith,Thanks for this. Tarde's on my (infinite) list of people to look into. I'm skeptical (sp?) because Lazzarato uses him to say what I think are kind of dumb and annoying things. But Virno takes him seriously and I try to take everything seriously that Virno does. I'll have to give all this a look when I get home in a week or so. Thanks as well for the Badiou stuff. I may send you more questions and such as I read him. Or perhaps you'd like to pick a short bit of Alain to read together and discuss? Let me know.Best regards,Nate
You're welcome. I have not read enough of Tarde or Lazzarato to conclude that Lazzarato uses him to say 'dumb and annoying things', although I can certainly understand where that is coming from. I am very interested in Lazzarato's use of "immaterial labor" and I likewise am willing to take Virno seriously. Feel free to send questions as it would give me food for posts and a good reason to write things down while doing some close reading. I would also be interested in picking up something by Badiou in order to discuss, but you pick. If not, I would say his Metapolitics since I have yet to read that one.
hi Keith,All I've read by Badiou is the first 90 pages or so of Infinite Thought. I plan to read the Theoretical Writings and the Paul book in the next few weeks so if you're keen on any of that let me know. I'd be happy to read Metapolitics too, if that's you're top priority, I may be able to get a copy this coming week. Let me know. best,Nate
I could do the St. Paul, which I have also not read, as well as Theoretical Writings Which is deserving of a closer re-read on my part. That might also force me to get better acquainted with other things which are woven into it, like Hegel.
It all sounds good to me Keith. Also, I want so say re: Lazzarato, I think his work is interesting, what I've read of it. But he's got some of the same tendencies that I've gotten more unhappy about in Negri, which is primarily a type periodizing impulse toward history. He makes it sound like we're now in an age of immaterial labor, as opposed to the prior age of material labor. As far as I can tell, at least for Negri, this functions as basically a way to bring into marxism a philosophical anthropology (active creative subject is capable of self-organization) without having to ask any questions of the moments of the marxist tradition that were predicated on denying such a creative capacity (ie, the vanguardists). Lazzarato's not got the same political stakes, as far as I know, but does sometimes sound similar, like value production is no longer solely happening in workplaces etc. To my mind that was never the case, so the announcement of its end strikes me as odd. Anyway, any and all of above Badiou stuff'd be great to read. Do you have a preferred starting place? Since all of this is new to me I'm happy to start wherever. I've got the Paul book and Infinite Thought with me on my jaunt out of town, I could start Theoretical Writings in a week when I get home. Please let me know.take care,Nate
Lazzarato's not got the same political stakes, as far as I know, but does sound similar, like value production is no longer happening solely in the workplaces etc. To my mind that was never the case, so the announcement of its end strikes me as odd.Indeed. That is, if by your statement you meant that "immaterial labor" has always been around, and that it could not have just 'magically appeared' at some recent date - which is what I take you to mean. I'm not sure this would be close to an example of 'philosophical anthropology'; in fact, it seems rather Badiou-esque that Lazzarato would recognize "immaterial labor" as a somewhat recent 'creation'. By this I mean that, just as Badiou might acknowledge that something could have existed before it was named, until it is named(as far as the situation is concerned)it doesn't 'exist'. So certainly there had to have been a change in the conditions of production (post-fordism?) that could have made "immaterial labor" 'appear' in the situation.Perhaps Ranciere's "Aesthetic regime" also does something similar to what you are implying about Lazzarato, where the activities that comprise the existence of both "immaterial labor" and an "Aesthetic regime of the arts" have always been social realities. Both attempt to dismantle the distinction between art and life. However, they have not always been visible and recognized. An "Aesthetic regime" being a consequence of 'modernism' or 'modernatism' (bauhaus, Dada, etc).I don't know...it's early still for me and I need more time to think about these things. I had actually just yesterday printed up the Lazzarato paper to which I think you are refering, so I'll give it a read. I'll be going into town later to see if the bookstore has a copy of St. Paul.
hi Keith, Steve Wright's a got an article I quite like on immaterial labor, it's here - http://mbamb.blogsome.com/mute-piece-reality-check/My basic disagreement w/ Negri and Lazzarato goes like this: They assert that there's been some fundamental change in the arrangement of capitalist production. The lynchpin of this account is the account of immaterial labor, though Negri emphasize the affective moment more. This fundamental change is used to argue for a new political/organizational possibility, derived from the activities that immaterial laborers are capable of (such capabilities are verified by the activities immaterial laborers perform that are productive). To my mind, those political/organizational possibilities, and the capacities they rest upon, must be assumed to be possible for at least all of the history of capitalist production. Otherwise there are inexplicable phenomena of self-organization, like the early IWW. The Negrian account seems to me predicated ondenying those possibilities and capacities existed prior to the present epoch. As for naming and all of that, the problem is one like in Ranciere, a problem of disagreemt over who gets to count as a speaker, and thus who can enunciate the name. To some degree, Lenin's disagreements with the 'infantile' left communists was a disagreement over naming. The activities of those who were not held, in the prevailing marxist schema, to have names and to be able to name, were opposed most when they looked like attempts at unauthorized naming. To my mind, the Negrian account of immaterial labor serves to give a new name for political capacities and activities that not only previously existed but were named. Virno, on the other hand, says that the multitude existed previously and is not only not-yet, I think that's a much more satisfactory formulation: the contemporary multitude is/will occur in conditions of immaterial labor because of the present form of capitalism, that's different than saying the present form of capitalism, with the prevalence of immaterial labor, makes multitude possible for the first time. I hope that makes sense. My interest in the Paul stuff is partly connected w/ all this, as it's a way to start to engage w/ Lenin and contemporary (maybe post-) Leninists. take care,Nate
Makes sense to me.
hi again Keith,I bought Metapolitics today, and have borrowed the Paul book from a friend (also bought Agamben's Paui book for comparison). I'll be home with more down time starting Saturday. What would you like to read (first?), Metapolitics, Theoretical Writings, or the Paul book? happy new year,Nate
Hi Nate,I'll have more down time come Monday. I skipped Metapolitics for the Paul, so I would say Paul + some crossreading with Theoretical Writings to start. But did you hear? Badiou is out. Alas. My e-mail is at the top of the page, so perhaps we should figure out how to do this reading via less public channels for the moment. Drop a line.Happy New Year.
Another bibliography is available here (in french)http://bibliographietarde.blogspot.com/
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