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Time, Labor, and Social Domination

Time, Labor, and Social Domination
A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory

$34.99 (G)

  • Date Published: July 1996
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521565400

$ 34.99 (G)
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About the Authors
  • In this ambitious book, Moishe Postone undertakes a fundamental reinterpretation of Marx's mature critical theory. He calls into question many of the presuppositions of traditional Marxist analyses and offers new interpretations of Marx's central arguments. These interpretations lead him to a very different analysis of the nature and problems of capitalism and provide the basis for a critique of "actually existing socialism." According to this new interpretation, Marx identifies the central core of the capitalist system with an impersonal form of social domination generated by labor itself and not simply with market mechanisms and private property. Proletarian labor and the industrial production process are characterized as expressions of domination rather than as means of human emancipation. This reformulation relates the form of economic growth and the structure of social labor in modern society to the alienation and domination at the heart of capitalism. It provides the foundation for a critical social theory that is more adequate to late twentieth-century capitalism.

    • Widely reviewed and well received when published in hardback
    • Offers an impressive critique of traditional Marxism and its real-world forms
    • Controversial: argues that for Marx, the alienation of labour, rather than who gets the surplus value, is the defining feature of capitalism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Moishe Postone's timely study challanges the presuppositions of standard Marxisms and anti-Marxisms and contains valuable resources for renewing discussion of Marx. ...Postone makes a major contribution to Marx scholarship and social theory. Demonstrating a laudable depth, rigor, and tenaciousness of argument that reflect years of careful study and thought, he counters the all too frequent superficial affirmations and dismissals of Marx. His strong argument about the core of Marx's social theory opens fresh departure points for the ongoing debate over Marx and Marxism. Postone's book is difficult but very worthwhile reading." Journal of Modern History

    "Time, Labor, and Social Domination is a deeply learned and profoundly ambitious book... ...an impressive, erudite exorcism of the (astonishingly mischievous) spectre of Ricardo that has been haunting Marxism for too long. ...there can be little doubt that Postone's book will dominate the discussion...for some time to come." Canadian Philosophical Reviews

    "In this complex, dense, richly argued, and rewarding monograph, Moishe Postone offers a fundamental reconstruction and reinterpretation of the core structure of Capital....the rigor and richness of Postone's arguments makes this a key book even for those with other perspectives on capitalist dynamics." American Journal of Sociology

    "...the best analysis of Marx's mature socioeconomic theory since David Harvey's The Limits to Capital (1982). It is obviously the fruit of long years of research and lengthy meditation. It is the kind of work that is well worth waiting for." David McLellan, American Political Science Review

    "Postone's arguments are important and provocative....an important counterweight to the various Marxisms and post-Marxisms which currently clutter the academic world." Simon Clarke, Contemporary Sociology

    "Moishe Postone has opened up a new front in Critical Theory in which Marx figures as the unsurpassed analyst of modernity. Without the dryness typical of 'back to basics,' his reading of Capital reveals categories--commodity, labor, value, time--as captivating as any construed in this century. When bonded to the visions of post-capitalist life from the Grundrisse, the Marxian project suddenly appears more vibrant than the recent debates about precisely how to shelve the theory indicate." Jeanne Schuler, Telos

    "...The rigor and richness of Postone's arguments makes this a key book even for those with other perspectives on capitalist dynamics." Bob Jessop, American Journal of Sociology

    "...a major attempt to reinvigorate the critical Marxist tradition by rethinking basic Marxist categories....Postone's critique is thus quite wide-ranging, and his contribution is substantial." Jeffrey K. Olick, Theory and Psychology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1996
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521565400
    • length: 440 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 154 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. A Critique of Traditional Marxism:
    1. Rethinking Marx's critique of capitalism
    2. Presuppositions of traditional Marxism
    3. The limits of traditional Marxism and the pessimistic turn of Critical Theory
    Part II. Toward a Reconstruction of the Marxian Critique: The Commodity 4. Abstract labor
    5. Abstract time
    6. Habermas's critique of Marx
    Part III. Toward a Reconstruction of the Marxian Critique: capital
    7. Toward a theory of capital
    8. The dialectic of labor and time
    9. The trajectory of production
    10. Concluding considerations.

  • Author

    Moishe Postone, University of Chicago

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