Whistle While You Work: Deleuze and the Spirit of Capitalism

Jeffrey Bell

in Deleuze and Ethics

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780748641178
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671731 | DOI:
Whistle While You Work: Deleuze and the Spirit of Capitalism

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This chapter examines Boltanski and Chiapello's critique of Deleuze. First, it details how Deleuze (and Deleuze and Guattari) can be used to rethink Marx's theory of alienation. It shows that central to Marx's understanding of alienation, and to Boltanski and Chiapello's subsequent understanding of the role ideology plays, is the separation of a productive process — namely, labour — from that which is the product of this process. More to the point, labour is alienated from the value it produces, and it is this value that confronts the worker as a hostile and alien force when it is in the hands of the capitalist. The chapter shows that Deleuze fundamentally rethinks this traditional labour theory of value. Where this rethinking of Marxism most markedly diverges from a more traditional reading is in their interpretation of the relationship between labour-power and labour. For Deleuze and Guattari, labour-power is thought of as desiring-production. Although desiring-production can indeed be captured by the transcendent power of the capitalist in the form of wage labour, desiring-production is at the same time inseparable from and yet irreducible to wage labour and allows for the possibility of a value creation that cannot be captured by the nets of the capitalist.

Keywords: Boltanski; Chiapello; Deleuze; Marx; alienation theory; labour; labour-power; capitalism

Chapter.  7137 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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