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Title: Work, bodies, and the emerging politics of alienation /
Authors: McFadden, Paul Enoch
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Labour in the “post-industrial” society alienates bodies’ embodied capacities such that bodies’ potential to engage in praxis – the properties of bodies with which humans express their Being as political Being – has become the social form of the domination of labour by capital. The labour process of these emergent forms of labour is a political space in which bodies’ potential for praxis is formatively shaped and deployed in the making of bodies in desiring forms, constituting and re-constituting social environments in forms that unevenly and contestedly reflect transformations in modes of capital accumulation. This social-fixing of indeterminate labour-power links and decouples the inner relations between power, production, reproduction, value, and subjectivity that constitute the emerging politics of alienation. My jumping-off points to these relations are a set of investigations that purportedly describe “new” and “hegemonic” forms of labour in the post-industrial society: the sociological and political economic enquiries into ‘aesthetic labour’, ‘emotional labour’ and the triadic conception of ‘affective/immaterial/biopolitical labour’. I resolve the one-sided and contradictory elements of these explanations with an empirically-informed dialectical reconfiguration of the concept of body work that identifies new dimensions to the corporeal character of alienated labour. Alienated body work is attendant to a deepening of the reciprocal relations across productive and reproductive spheres and therein alienated body work integrates articulations of the capitalist politics of production together with the social mechanisms of the production of subjectivity more acutely than in previous phases of capitalist production. This deepening connection between spheres of production and reproduction is the centre of the contradiction of the social form of the domination in the postindustrial society: the emerging politics of alienation is constituted by the potential for a capitalistic transformation of the body which forecloses on the subversive potential of bodies’ capacity to engage in praxis but this social condition simultaneously brings those embodied political capacities into direct confrontation with the logic of value at the very centre of production.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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