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The reproduction of subjectivity and the turnover-time of ideology: speculating with German idealism, Marx, and Adorno.

In the wake of Michel Foucault's now-famous critique of the repressive role of the state apparatus (dispositif), (1) a central tenet of social theory, namely ideology critique, lost considerable support among scholars and activists. A constant refrain, heard from all quarters, consisted of the need to finally leave behind a model of subjection based on a "sovereign," top-down conception of power, and instead employ a method that gleans the horizontal dispersions or discursive metamorphoses that are more primary in the positive constitution of subjectivity. (2) And yet, in the face of the last fifteen to twenty years, it has grown increasingly difficult to deny the persistent role of the Leviathan in contemporary life. If the explosion in the U.S. prison population were not enough, basic knowledge of the function of the surveillance state likely causes one to begin to question the ease with which approaches like that of Louis Althusser's were discarded in favor of Foucault's approach. (3) Indeed, especially after the recent bailout of international capital by the U.S. Empire, i,e., the international lender of last resort, the question of how contemporary subjectivity is formed in relation to a state apparatus that-despite the element of truth in the "relative autonomy" or non-economistic thesis-is indissolubly linked to the reproduction of capital, weighs down on any theorist who would try to give an adequate account of the present balance of social and political forces. Have we not, along these lines, lost something essential in wholly departing from Althusser's approach? Have we not, that is to say, missed the chance to enrich this mode of inquiry by putting it in tension with the present state of affairs? Surely, given the present constellation, we can now see that the complete dismissal of ideology critique in favor of an analysis of the transformations in discourse is itself part of a power dynamic that thwarts the possibility of grasping just how much repression, i.e., the hail of the State, the threat of external punishment, or, in short, the unparalleled power with which capital, through its various (economic, political, legal, and military) channels, demands the passive adaptation of its subjects. Surely such a position against ideology critique is also part of the mechanism that generates an incapacity to understand how the reproduction of capital simultaneously instigates positive and negative effects on the subject, affirmative and prohibitive games of power that are essential to the formation of contemporary subjectivity?* * 4 And surely, in the midst of economic disparity that has reached Gilded Age levels, it is high time that we return to a consideration of the links between the flows of capital and the manner in which its subject is schematized in and through a relationship to the socially necessary maintenance of class domination.

With this background in view, there are two aspects of Althusser's ideology critique that I would like to consider in the hope of returning to and enriching this mode of investigation. (5) Firstly, there is Althusser's Lacanian insight into the "specular" character of the "centered" subject. (6) The play of anticipation with the mirror-image, the "misrecognition" involved in becoming the subject of wage-labor, remains a particularly pressing issue, especially in an age of finance capital, i.e., an age that has seen "speculative" activity in secondary markets grow to unforeseen levels. Secondly, there is Althusser's claim that the base-superstructure model of ideology requires the addition of Marx's conception of reproduction, (7) of the turnover-time (Umschlagszeit) and circulation that are socially necessary for the process of value-expansion. The continued relevance of this line of inquiry can hardly be questioned when confronted with the fact the foundations of this reproduction have been shaken to their core by the worst economic crisis in two generations. Moreover, confronting the dire consequences for subjects living not only amidst this crisis, but also in an era that has seen an unprecedented emphasis on short-term, quarterly earnings, a staggering proportion of which are completely unmoored from the actual production of goods, cannot help but conjure up questions regarding how the subject of neoliberal capital is produced. Maintaining the speed of this turnover-time (Umschlagszeit)-once conceived as a mere means-has, after all, become the end towards which the process itself strives, virtually reversing, in a hyperbolization of the fetishism of commodities, (8) the logical and temporal ordering of all previous means-ends relationships.

However fruitful in its own right, I do not here wish to re-examine the minute details of Althusser's famous text on ideology. I take a general knowledge of Althusser's theory for granted. Nor do I wish to think this theory alongside its tensions with a Foucauldian analysis of discourse. I assume, rather, that only after a re-examination of ideology critique, i.e., an historical analysis that goes back to its roots in German Idealism and Marx, that takes note of past and present modifications or reformulations, will we be able to get to the bottom of the latter tension. My task is, accordingly, simply to begin to lay the grounds for further exploration into how the subject of ideology is produced, interpellated, or undergoes subjection within the specific material configuration of neoliberal capitalism. If Althusser and his predecessors are right, and, following Engels, "in the last instance" (9) that which happens on the level of the superstructure is constrained by the need to reproduce the real relations of class domination, (10) then the changes in speed, in the rhythm and movement of value-in-motion, (11) should illustrate a qualitative difference between the subject of our era and the subject of an era that lacked this level of concentration and centralization of capital, lacked these particular forces of production stored up and utilized in the confrontation against living-labor.

However refracted or non-identical, reproduction not merely of forces and relations of production, but of subjectivity itself, would then mirror the frantic logic of the metamorphosis of capital, all the way down to its crisis tendency, Financialization, comprised of an ever-accelerating, socially necessary turn-over time, must, in other words, have drastic effects on the temporal and spatial organization of this subjectivity, I want to suggest that the shocks and volatility of the new dynamic, which may well be reaching a limit in the amount of relative surplus-value that it can extract without shattering what classical German philosophy called the unity of apperception, is anticipated in Marx's analysis of expanded reproduction, In illustrating some of the essential tendencies in the latter analysis, in particular as they appear in the Grundrisse, and reading them alongside T.W. Adorno's analysis of the turnover (Umschlag) and reproduction of "negative dialectics," we can begin to glimpse something of the fracture-point (Knotenpunkt) on which the capacity or desire to answer the so-called "hail" of the State breaks open, The transformation of subjectivity that, on the one hand, may be strengthened into a revolutionary subject by no longer wholly needing the fetishistic or illusory element of the unity of apperception, may, on the other hand, be marked by an increasing malleability to domination, an increasing desire for self-annihilation, The simultaneity of both possibilities is just that dialectical.


As we begin this attempt to understand contemporary interpellation in light of the manner in which the past impinges on the present, or the past ultimately reveals the present, we should recall that it was, of course, Georg Lukacs who first concretized the manner in which consciousness under these modes of production adheres to the logic of the commodity-form, (12) The shining (scheinend), dazzling appearance of equivalence is not simply a process of abstraction that, under the rubric of quantity, finds similarity between things that are, as such, qualitatively different, As a fetishized quantity, the subject itself identifies with this contentless abstraction, Thus, anticipating Marx in one of the most striking moments in the history of bourgeois thought, Kant declares that experience requires a third term, a Dritte, which "must stand in homogeneity with the category on the one hand and the appearance on the other hand," (13) Marx's Erscheinungsformen, or forms of appearances, do indeed require an equivalent form that stands in and effaces sensuous distinctions, but for Kant and the philosophers that followed him, that process of schematization, of creating a centered unity, is the result, "in the last instance," of the transcendental subject, In other words, a being who is at once outside of time, ahistorical-the immediate I-am-I-ultimately constitutes the world for German idealism or bourgeois subjectivity, regardless of the material process of (re)production. (14)

It is not an accident, then, that this conception of a self-constituting, timeless subjectivity only emerges amidst the rise of the commodification of labor-power, Believing in the "equal rights" of one's private domain, in the sacrosanctity of the contractual relation that ensures "free" and "fair" exchange without infringement, is tantamount to an ideological reflex before the machinery that needs to reproduce its cycle, The important point is that, beyond this familiar critique of formal democracy, the very logic of commodification, or the process set in motion for the sake of realizing value, illustrates a tendency whose outermost consequences are becoming increasingly stark in today's hyper-speculative world. In short, the alleged timelessness of this subject who must adhere to the swindle and who accepts his or her subjection as a second nature, (15) is built into the fabric of capital's circuits from the start. Despite the fact that circulation is not directly productive of surplus-value, Marx highlights its importance as an essential moment in the process. He maintains, for example, that
   [t]he difference between [value-positing activity and the time of
   devaluation] shows itself simply in this: if the totality of the
   labour time commanded by capital is set at its maximum, say
   infinity, [infinity], so that necessary labour time forms an
   infinitely small part and surplus labour time an infinitely large
   part of this [infinity], then this would be the maximum realization
   of capital, and this is the tendency towards which it strives. On
   the other side, if the circulation time of capital were = 0, if the
   various stages of its transformation proceeded as rapidly in reality
   as in the mind, then that would likewise be the maximum of the
   factor by which the production process could be repeated. (16)

The structure that forces capital, in a competitive struggle, to seek out the possibility of selling below the average, socially necessary labour time, makes the velocity of the turnover-time of patent importance. Any, so to speak, hold-up that thwarts the metamorphosis from approximating itself towards this infinity-the ideal of value never coming to a standstill-is a barrier that must be destroyed. If capital of necessity tends to engage in this approximation, then whatever the countervailing tendencies that monopolization or the credit system provide-mere witchcraft in Marx's view (17)--the subject must always come to identify with this very tendency, if it is not to be expelled, in Adorno's words, by the "circle of the ruling class," which "keeps spewing undigested scraps of subjugated nature." (18)

We might say that, at the heart of this tendency to want to immediately repeat the beginning of the ever-expanding circle, is the desire to become god, (19) to take part in what the German idealists called "intellectual intuition," i.e., immediate intuition devoid of a corresponding sensible object, (20) What started as an indeterminate, never empirically verifiable "idea" for Kant, became the absolute subject of unified experience for Fichte and Hegel. The subjects of this frantic rush forward paradoxically came to think of themselves as timeless beings, alleging that the schematization of the ego happens even faster than it can be thought in the mind, without the need to pass through that which mediates (vermitteln) the appearances and without the need to affirm the underlying, empirical or spatial substrate. The ego, allegedly created in the image of god was, in short, already kneeling before the idol of capital. It is not, then, simply the logic of imperialism, and after that, the logic of the latest just-in-time production, that Marx predicts when he continues his discussion of the incessant attempt to avoid devaluation:
   While capital must on one side strive to tear down every spatial
   barrier to intercourse, i.e., to exchange, and conquer the whole
   earth for its market, it strives on the other side to annihilate
   this space through time, i.e., to reduce to a minimum the time
   spent in motion from one place to another. (21)

Together with the previous speculations, here we can see that Marx has indirectly located the manner in which, according to Adorno, the subject comes to "venerate the mirror-image," or comes to require an internal reinforcement that doubles the anarchic world that plagues it from without. (22) In this respect, it is telling that for Kant, of course, time is the internal sense. (23) If space becomes a barrier and, in the end, must be annihilated by time for the sake of maximizing the difference between surplus and necessary labour time, then this implies that Kant's subject is already the self-enclosed subject who erects his own prison walls in what Adorno calls the "spell" (Bann) of ideology. Indeed, so long as the class struggle does not reverse this trajectory, there is no reason to suspect that its immanent logic will ever call a halt to this solipsistic fantasy. By never reemerging from out of this internal sense, the subject not only negates the temporality that was its sanctuary, it requires an even more fetishized sense of self, an even more hypostatized conception of its relation to other social phenomena. Could this account for the manner in which neo-liberalism ruthlessly stretches the logic of the market into previously prohibited domains? (24)

However that might be, this extreme instantiation of the subjective illusion must be part of what Adorno means when he insists that,
   [o]nly when the process that begins with the metamorphosis of
   labour-power into a commodity has permeated [durchdringt] men
   through and through and objectified each of their impulses
   [Regungen] as a priori commensurable variations of the exchange
   relation [eine Spielart des Tauschverhaltnisses], is it possible
   for life [Leben] to reproduce itself under the dominant
   [herrschenden] relations of production," (25)

That the process of production administers even our own-most impulses is another way of saying that the microcosm mirrors the macrocosm, the totality, without anyone reflecting it, For it is, after all, the workers, agents of their function within the apparatus, who unwittingly help to implement this speed of reproduction, even when it falsely appears that we live in a world where fictitious capital can wholly dislodge itself from both productive and variable capital without eventually "returning to its monetary basis" (26) during crisis, Hence submitting to the speed that is inscribed in both the turnover (Umschlag) of the base and the superstructure, implies that the barbarism of so-called "human capital," i.e., the "assets" and "marketable" personality traits of the "spontaneous" self, have to appear as if they are an immediacy, i.e., an a priori, timeless constituent that elides the real mediation of capital,


With this general, historical framework in mind, we can start to see that, of all phenomena, the material practice of modern warfare is especially helpful in concretizing the new subject of ideology, From our analysis heretofore we can already deduce that, for Adorno, ideology persists when the subject believes that it is in complete possession of itself, The blinding illusion, the false semblance (Schein), always consists of forgetting or disavowing that subject is also object, (27) that there are forces beyond its instrumental control, and lastly, that, despite their interrelationship, subject and object are not, nor will they ever be, identical to one another, Such a disavowal might be what is required of it in order to cope with the condition of domination, in order to temporarily preserve itself, But the actual, historical disjunction between subject and object, between one's identity and the totality whose speed unrelentingly propels objectified labour into an antagonistic confrontation with every human being, brings into sharp relief the manner in which, especially in war, even this attempt at self-preservation is ultimately indistinguishable from self-negation, Thus, Adorno asserts that,

this mechanical rhythm [or alternation of jerky [stoflweise] action and total standstill] completely determines the human relation to the war, not only in the disproportion between individual bodily strength and the energy of machines, but in the most hidden cells of experience ... Everywhere, with each explosion, it has broken through the stimuli--protection [Reizschutz] under which experience, the lag [Dauer] between healing oblivion and healing recollection, forms [sich bildet], Life has changed into a timeless succession of shocks, interspaced with empty, paralyzed intervals, (GS4: 60/ MM: 54, translation modified)

Despite the anachronism, is this not the image of the omnipresent precarity of the neo-liberal age? Here, there is no longer any, so to speak, steady drum beat repeating the socially necessary reproduction of subjective certainty. (28) Adorno is claiming that, driven to its extreme, the separation between intellectual and manual labour, which is both the semblance and "something historically exceedingly real," (29) no longer permits the subject to seize its element of truth, the promise of self-reflection entering into the process, itself becoming a "transformative force of production." (30) In other words, the Reizschutz or stimuli-protection is not entirely false, not entirely reducible to passive subjection. The ego could just as well be a moment in the process of real experience, of a subjective strength that is capable of harnessing the spontaneous pause of a reproduced memory, the fleeting duree before the reconciling image of the past slips away. Yet the onslaught that accelerates without warning and strikes from all directions, never ceasing to demand that your time be well managed, that you remain on guard, cannot help but upset the calm that is needed to maintain the unity of experience. In desperation, the armature or protective barrier of subjectivity, which always promised that it would one day relent, soften itself, and, in a sudden qualitative shift, inaugurate the eros between the outside and the inside-this promise of a subjectivity transformed into a higher state, finally regresses into its opposite: a "mimetic shock absorber." (31)

The turn-around or Umschlag that happens in every cycle (32) and could, as revolution, one day turn around into the famous dialectical leap of quantity sublated (aufgehabt) into quality, is thus betrayed by the disjointed temporality of war. Insofar as each cycle of capitalist production is constituted by a revolution in the forces of production, the rechanneling of the circuits that starts the process anew is, to be sure, a kind of qualitative leap that undermines the notion of history as "gradual progression." But the barefaced immobility of the antiquated relations of production that attends this leap, requiring that increasingly intense shocks are employed to loosen up the clogged surplus accumulation, mocks the idea of genuine change. To be clear, then, this betrayal of subjectivity does not simply result from, say, the violent ruptures of artillery combat, where the force of machinery is overwhelmingly disproportionate to the body of the individual. One need only reflect upon the use of algorithms and computer technology in the present economy.

Unprecedented forces of calculation, entirely unhinged from human autonomy, now assist in driving forward what Peter Gowan has called the "bubble-blowing" regime (33) of price-fixing within which every moment of the total system is bound. Increasingly forced to "run away from itself," increasingly "dissociated" (Lossage) from its objective relation, (34) the subject of this stage of disaster capitalism (35) appears to be liquidated like the liquidity (Flussigkeit) of the capital it mirrors. Who escapes the fitful brutality of push-button flexibility--this post-Fordist war by other means? Lost in a de-centered malaise without temporal continuity, the subject is thus within an inch of becoming mere object, as much a diabolical parody of Lukacs' proletarian standpoint (36) as it is a submission to the hail under the contemporary form of suicide. Without anyone there to pull the, so to speak, "emergency break," (37) history thus enters a stage in which pausing to take a breath, sensing the aura, causes more pain than submitting to the rhythm of the alienated spectator who can now, as Walter Benjamin once put it, opt to "experience [his or her] own annihilation [Vernichtung] as a supreme aesthetic pleasure." (38)

Does it follow that if one agrees with Adorno's analysis, one necessarily lapses into pessimism and its accompanying practice, quietism? Coupled with what appears to be the victory of the "unassailable force," (39) or the clear defeat of the international left in last thirty five years, one might be inclined to answer in the affirmative. Adorno does, of course, give us the impression that the speed of the turnover, the leap or sublation into the qualitatively new, continues to happen in a fundamentally regressive manner. For example, he declares in several different places that the Umschlag leaps from enlightenment into mythology, springs into unreason and irrationality, (40) apparently leaving the revolution behind. Adorno even employs Marx's Hegelian concept of the Umschlag to account for the shift into the unconscionable administration of mass murder. In his words,
   [o]ur metaphysical faculty is paralyzed because actual events have
   shattered the basis on which speculative metaphysical thought could
   be reconciled with experience. Once again, the dialectic motif of
   the sudden reversal [Umschlag] from quantity into quality scores an
   unspeakable triumph. The administrative murder of millions made of
   death a thing one had never yet to fear in just this fashion. (41)

And yet, if there is a point when the brutalized subject is struck (schlagen) into the qualitative difference of schizophrenic disunity or murderous rage, there could just as well be a point when, impelled by the same quantitative pressure, the fracture shocks into a different type of unity. Close readers of Adorno know this as his appeal to an "axial turn" to Kant's Copernican turn, or they know it through Adorno's concept of "second reflection," (42) both of which "use the strength of the subject to break through the fallacy of constitutive subjectivity." (43) Despite everything, a new subject could reflect what was previously missed, reflect its own historically based projections, identify with the non-identity that constitutes it, and thereby check the arrogance that has always puffed it up into believing it is causa sui. More optimistic than any thinker who would abandon reflection upon impossibility, (44) upon the limit-point of experience-in truth, the only genuine mode of dialectical speculation-Adorno, accordingly, declares that,
   [t]he straighter a society's course for the totality that
   reproduces itself in the spellbound subjects, the deeper its
   tendency to dissociation. This threatens the life of the species as
   much as it disavows [dementiert] the spell cast over the whole, the
   false identity of subject and object. The universal that compresses
   [zusammengepresst] the particular until it splinters
   [zersplittert], like a torture instrument, is working against
   itself, for its substance is the life [Leben]of the particular.

Insofar as the spell has indeed become total, and every moment is now, more than ever, caught up in the insidious integration of the value-form's spasmodic tempo, it is hard to argue that we are not approaching this splinter point of dissociation, the most dangerous of all moments. The question becomes a matter of how subjectivity will rupture and where it will then turn. As Adorno continues this passage, he insists that, "there is no telling yet whether it will be a disaster or a liberation." (46) The intensified polarization and volatility in recent international affairs is a clear indication of how this destruction of the center ultimately breaks, as it were, in both directions. Whatever its likelihood or faint possibility, we can be sure that if a revolutionary subject emerges from this circumstance, it will not happen through a smooth transition (Ubergang) or through mere subordination to the party. (47) Remaining faithful to the spontaneous moment, Adorno argues that the dialectical subject "ignites on the fracture points" (Knotenpunkten) themselves, (48) never arriving, like Lukacs, at either the complete unity of subject and object or a praxis connected by a straight line to theory. (49)

If, along these lines, the spell Is nothing other than the subjective spell, that Is, our self-incurred immaturity, (50) then the splintering moment, which avoids the eternal recurrence of bloodshed, (51) must be accompanied by a reflection that "catches its breath" (52) in the midst of that which is negatively other to the subject. In Adorno's articulation, "all mental things are modified physical impulses, and such modification is their qualitative reversal [Umschlag] into what is not merely." (53) This is the ineradicable promise that negativity could be heard, instead of reconverted, as always, back into quantity. (54) The spell of praxis, which unwittingly doubles that which it seeks to negate, now shudders as the propulsion towards a positive program ceases. Wary, then, of any sure-fire version of a hypostatized "dialectical method," Adorno implies that the qualitatively new subject senses its own objectivity and becomes aware of the constellational nexus (Zusammenhang) within which it moves. At the "extreme where subjectivity contracts from the point of synthetic unity" (55) the subject is neither done away with nor reduced to mere ideology, to that which, in positivist fashion, seeks a replacement (Ersatz) set of symbolic relations with which to identify. (56) Rather, like language-the mimetic "Umschlag into objectivity" (57)--the subject finds its sudden unity in a recognition of disunity-and this alone is the sublation that avoids liquidation. (58)

Thus, when pushed to the limit of the subject as speculative fetish, Adorno insists that the faint hope still rests, in part, on the will of that subject. Turned dialectical, this will not only avoids the phantasmatic moment in identity, it becomes "the force of consciousness by which consciousness leaves [verlaft] its own encircled spell [Bannkreis] and thereby transforms what merely is. Its recoil [Umschlag] is resistance," (59) Knowing that genuine speculation always implied breaking down the rigidity of the hardened, picture-thinking of the understanding, (60) Adorno teaches us that what could be translated as the no-protest-zone, the Bannkreis or private domain of subjectivity, is in truth a false barrier, upheld to this day by an arrogance that lacks the capacity to embody Adorno's dictum that "true thoughts are those alone which do not understand themselves," (61) Only with such humility could the subject be guided by a non-repressive praxis, (62) Only then could it perhaps be stirred to find that evasive "Archimedean point"--the point at which the subject "steers between the alternatives of spontaneity and organization," (63) without letting the speed of the totality pass it by, (64) The eye could, indeed, become a human eye, the ear, a human ear, (65) and for the first time, an "outward striking [schlagend] consciousness" (66) might, in Adorno's words, answer the mute hail of "the object's neediness [Bedurftigkeit]," (67) instead of mirroring a speculation that, in truth, remains "dragged along" without speculation and without time.

Joseph Weiss, DePaul University

(1) Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, vol. 1, trans. Robert Hurley (New York; Vintage Books, 1978).

(2) For an example of an analysis that is critical of this top-down or repressive conception of power yet still aims to distance itself from Foucault, see Loic Wacquant, Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009).

(3) By questioning this prioritization of Foucault's approach I neither mean to suggest that his contribution is without merit nor that grasping the links between the reproduction of capital and the state apparatus requires employing a similarly one-sided method, namely one that would completely discard Foucault's understanding of the horizontal nature of contemporary power. The task, rather, seems to be to grasp the tensions, i.e., the play of forces, between the so-called "bureaucratic field" and all of its juridical metamorphoses alongside the fitful and uneven needs of a reproduction process undergoing a crisis in profitability. This stance, of course, maintains that power is neither completely top-down nor completely a repressive mechanism, but it also claims that power cannot be adequately conceived outside of class-power and the flows of capital, both of which remain tied, now as ever, to the material interventions of the state.

(4) Foucault himself, of course, claims that there are undoubtedly negative, repressive, or prohibitive elements at work in the "general economy" of power. This is why he explicitly states that his task is that of a tactical intervention, an attempt to push us to see what we have missed in overemphasizing the "repressive hypothesis," not an attempt to prove that the "repressive hypothesis" is mistaken. See Foucault, History of Sexuality, 11. Drawing different conclusions but influenced by the same tactical concerns, my approach in this essay brings us back to a dialectical understanding of power. In other words, the fear, perhaps justified in a previous era, that social criticism was veiling the positive production or positive effects of power, i.e., the affirmations of discourse that are generated alongside the prohibitions, has today lapsed into an overcompensation that all too often misses the negative element, i.e., objective constraints or narrowed channels that are fundamental to the production and metamorphoses of neo-liberal financialization.

(5) It should be noted that, for Althusser, Marx's early conception of ideology is differentiated from his mature work. See Louis Althusser and Etienne Balibar, Reading Capital, trans. Ben Brewster (New York: Verso, 2009), pp. 16-19. As is now famous, Althusser's argument is that the young Marx was still too caught up in Hegelian essentialism, that it was only at a later stage that Marx parted ways with the fetishistic claim that one could read the immediately given or eventually reveal the immediate essence of the "spiritual totality."

(6) Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses: Notes towards an Investigation," in Lenin and Philosophy and other essays (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001), 122. For an excellent account of Althusser's legacy in philosophy, see E. Ann Kaplan and Michael Sprinker, The Legacies of Althusser (New York: Verso, 1993). See, also, Jacques Lacan, "The Mirror Sate as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience," in Ecrits, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006), pp. 75-81; Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (New York: Verso, 1989).

(7) Althusser, "Ideology," p. 91.

(8) Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1, trans. Ben Fowkes (New York: Vintage Books, 1977), pp. 163-177.

(9) Ibid.

(10) Ibid., 89. For more on the "structural causality" between the state apparatus and the subject, see Erik Olin Wright, Class, Crisis, and the State (New York: Verso, 1996). For a critique of Wright, who allegedly misses the primacy of the "economic" in the determination of the superstructure, see Robert Paul Resch, Althusser and the Renewal of Marxist Social Theory (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), pp. 309-314.

(11) See Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Foundation of the Critique of Political Economy, trans. Martin Nicolaus (New York: Penguin Books, 1973). For a further discussion of how Marx conceives capital as "value-in-motion," see David Harvey, The Limits of Capital (New York: Verso, 2006), pp. 193-195.

(12) George Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans, Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971),

(13) Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans, Paul Guyer and Allen W, Wood (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), B177,

(14) The blind-spot of transcendental subjectivity is akin to Moishe Postone's critique of traditional Marxism and its appeal to a transhistorical conception of labor, See Postone, Time, Labor, and Social Domination (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), The disavowal at work in both views consists in the inability to grasp the historical dynamic that produces the "transcendental" subject or the standpoint of labor in the first place, Both should be thought as contingent moments, instead of constitutive to grasping the truth of reason and revolutionary consciousness respectively.

(15) For more on this concept of "second nature" that follows the tradition of German Idealism but also registers its diabolical aspect, see Georg Lukacs, The Theory of the Novel, trans. Anna Bostock (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974), 64: "This second nature is not dumb, sensuous and yet senseless like the first: it is a complex of senses-meanings-which has become rigid and strange, and which no longer awakens interiority; it is a charnel-house of long-dead interiorities; this second nature could only be brought to life-if this were possible-by the metaphysical act of reawakening the souls which, in an early or ideal existence, created or preserved it ... Estrangement from nature (the first nature), the modern sentimental attitude to nature, is only a project of man's experience of his selfmade environment as a prison instead of as a parental home."

(16) Marx, Grundrisse, pp. 538 (my emphasis).

(17) Ibid., p. 545.

(18) T. W. Adorno, Adorno, Negative Dialectics, trans. E. B. Ashton (New York: Continuum, 1973), p. 347. Hereafter cited as ND; Adorno, Negativ Dialektik, in Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 6. ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1972), pp. 340-341. Hereafter all works from the Gesammelte Schriften will be cited as GS with the volume number followed by the part number.

(19) For more on this relationship between the desire to become God and the logic of "speculation" see Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other, trans. Gillian G. Gill (Ithaca: NY, Cornell University Press, 1974). This fantasy of omnipotence that becomes unhinged from the material process of production so that the spectacle can only communicate with itself, is of course also a central tenet of Guy Debord's famous work. See Debord, Society of the Spectacle, trans. Fredy Perlman and Jon Supak (Detroit: Black & Red, 1977).

(20) Kant, Critique, B307.

(21) Marx, Grundrisse, p. 539 (translation modified).

(22) Adorno, GS5, pp. 337-340/ ND, pp. 344-346.

(23) Kant, Critique, B49.

(24) See, for example, Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, trans. Graham Burchell (New York: Picador, 2008).

(25) T.W. Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life, trans, Edmund Jephcott (New York: Verso, 2002), p. 229 (translation modified), Hereafter cited as MM; Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflexionen aus dem beschadigten Leben, in Gesammelte Schriften, vol, 4, ed, Rolf Tiedemann (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1972), pp. 260,

(26) See Karl Marx, Capital, vol, 3., trans, David Fernbach (New York: Penguin Books, 1981), pp. 699-728,

(27) T.W. Adorno, "On Subject and Object," in Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, trans, Henry W, Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), p. 246, Hereafter cited as SO; Adorno, "Zu Subjekt und Objekt," in Gesammelte Schriften, vol, 10,2, ed, Rolf Tiedemann (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1972), p. 742.

(28) See GS5, p. 45/ ND, p. 35: "The function of the concept of certainty in philosophy reverses [um schlug]. What was once to surpass dogmas and the tutelage of self-certainty has become the social insurance of a cognition that is to be proof against any untoward happening. And indeed, to the unobjectionable nothing happens" (translation modified).

(29) Adorno, GS10.2, p. 755/SO, p. 256.

(30) Ibid., p. 765/ SO p. 264.

(31) Walter Benjamin, "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire," in Selected Writings, vol. 4, ed. Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 313-355, p. 328; Benjamin, "Uber einige Motive bei Baudelaire," in Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 1.2, ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Scheppenhauser (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974), pp. 605-654, p. 631.

(32) Marx, Grundrisse, p. 548: "The continuity of production presupposes that circulation time has been sublated. If it has not been sublated, then time must pass between the different metamorphoses through which capital must travel" (translation modified).

(33) Peter Gowan, "Crisis in the Heartland," in The Great Credit Crash, ed. Martijn Konings (New York: Verso, 2010).

(34) Adorno, GS5, p. 44/ ND p. 34.

(35) Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2008).

(36) Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, p. 149.

(37) Walter Benjamin, "Paralipomena to 'On the Concept of History,'" in Selected Writings, vol. 4, ed. Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 401-411, p. 402; Benjamin, "Uber den Begriff der Geschichte," in GS1.3, ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Scheppenhauser (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974), pp. 691-706, p. 1232.

(38) Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Third Version," in Selected Writings, vol. 4, ed. Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 251-283, 270; Benjamin, "Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit: Dritte Fassung," in Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 1.2, ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Scheppenhauser (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974), p. 471-508, p. 508.

(39) See, for example, Frederick Engels and Karl Marx, "The German Ideology" in Collected Works, vol. 5, ed. James S. Allen, et al (New York: International Publishers, 1975), p. 44; Frederick Engels and Karl Marx, Werke, vol. 3, ed. Karl Dietz (Berlin: Verlag, 1976), p. 31. In this early context Marx and Engels speak of the "all-powerful and unassailable force [allmachtige und unangreifbare Macht]" attributed to nature.

(40) T.W. Adorno, "Marginalia to Theory and Praxis," in Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, trans. Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), pp. 259-278, p. 276. Hereafter cited as TP; Adorno, "Marginalien zur Theorie und Praxis," in Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 10.2, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1972), p. 779

(41) Adorno, GS5, pp. 354-355/ ND, p. 362 (translation modified).

(42) Adorno, GS10.2, p. 741/ SO, p. 245.

(43) Adorno, GS5, p. 10/ ND, p. XX.

(44) For a further discussion of this problem of the impossible impinging upon speculative thought as it relates to both Adorno and Hegel, see Rebecca Comay, Mourning Sickness: Hegel and the French Revolution (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010), p. 128.

(45) Adorno, GS5, p. 339/ ND, p. 346 (translation modified).

(46) Ibid., p. 337/ ND, p. 346.

(47) Adorno, GS10.2, p. 780/ TP, p. 277.

(48) Ibid., p. 766/ TP, p. 265.

(49) Ibid.,p. 780/ TP, p. 276. For a further discussion of both the implicit idealism and Stalinism in Lukacs' understanding of this relationship between theory and practice, see Slavoj Zizek, "From History and Class Consciousness to The Dialectic of Enlightenment ... and Back" New German Critique 81 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 107-123.

(50) Cf. Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment" in Kant: Political Writings (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 54-60, p. 54: "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity."

(51) Walter Benjamin associates "divine violence" with this attempt to break out of the repetition of bloodshed inscribed in the law. See Walter Benjamin, "Critique of Violence," in Selected Writings, vol. 1, ed. Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 236-252, p. 249; Benjamin, "Zur Kritik der Gewalt" in Gesammelte Schriften. vol. 2.1, ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Scheppenhauser (Frankfurt a.m.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974), pp. 179-203.

(52) Adorno, GS10.2, p. 776/TP, p. 274.

(53) Adorno, GS5, p. 201/ ND, p. 202 (my emphasis).

(54) Compare Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, p. 174.

(55) Adorno, GS10.2/ SO, p. 256 (translation modified).

(56) Cf. Slavoj Zizek, "The Simple Courage of Decision: A Leftist Tribute to Thatcher," NewStateman, April 17, 2013, While a provocative and therefore helpful intervention, the question of avowing a new set of transparent symbolic relations in fidelity to "the cause" seems very close to Zizek's recent call for a Thatcher of the left. In contrast, the argument that I have tried to make here concerns that moment when, because of the qualitative shift of the Umschlag, the "left" suddenly avoids mirroring the practice of the "right," avoids, in other words, being shackled to its dialectical opposite. Contrary to the appearance that this would simply be akin to espousing the post-political, post-partisan compromise that currently has such purchase in the political mainstream, I maintain that this "new left" would be grounded in a dialectics that is driven to the outermost extreme.

(57) Adorno, GS5, pp.167-168/ ND, p. 165.

(58) Adorno, GS10.2, p. 743/ SO, p. 247.

(59) Adorno, GS5, p. 240/ ND, p. 241 (translation modified), Cf, Slavoj Zizek, Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism (New York: Verso, 2014).

(60) See, for example, G.W.F. Hegel, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans, A,V, Miller (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 37.

(61) Adorno, GS4, p. 216/ MM, p. 192.

(62) Ibid., p. 776/ TP, p. 274.

(63) Ibid., p. 777/ TP, p. 274.

(64) Ibid., p. 770/ TP, p. 268.

(65) Karl Marx, "Private Property and Communism," in Collected Works 3, pp. 299-300/ Werke 1, pp, 539-540, Despite some of the cursory accounts, Adorno's thought is nowhere near the crude essentialism or anthropocentrism that would subsume the possibilities of experience under a preestablished telos, At the same time, however, he refuses to abandon that Kantian moment in which the idea of peace, the hope of reconciled human conditions, irresistibly impinges upon thought, This unwillingness to leave behind the desire for peace as a constitutive moment in all cultural production arguably marks a point of major difference between, for example, Adorno and the conception of power proffered by Foucault, See Michel Foucault, "Society Must Be Defended": Lectures at the College de France, trans, David Macey (New York: Picador, 2003), pp. 50-51, See, also, Foucault's account of his relationship to the Frankfurt School in Foucault, Foucault Live: Collected Interview, 1961-1984, ed, Sylvere Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1996), p. 253, Perhaps unlike Althusser and Foucault, then, Adorno is far more difficult to situate within the rigid, undialectical polarity of humanism versus anti-humanism, For more on this discussion of humanism within the tradition of Althusserian Marxism and its relation to post-structuralism, see Simon Choat, Marx through Post-Structuralism: Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze (New York, Continuum: 2012).

(66) Adorno, GS10.2, p. 746/SO, p. 249.

(67) Ibid., p. 766/ TP, p. 265.
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Author:Weiss, Joseph
Publication:Journal of Philosophy: A Cross Disciplinary Inquiry
Date:Sep 22, 2015
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