Modern Languages Faculty Publications


Critical social theory powerfully negates symbolic structures of political economy and imaginary projections of ideological culture but never quite knows what to do with corporeal bodies. “The Body Ontology of Capitalism” reviews Marx’s account of body ontology in his post-1859 writings (especially Capital, Vol. 1), in which value (abstract labor) is extracted from the concrete bodies of laborers caught in capital’s grasp. Body ontology is analyzed in Marx’s work as well as Lacan’s psychoanalytic social theory, exploring the relationship between structurally wounded bodies and imaginary projections. Zižek’s embodied account of wounded subjects of sublime ideological objects is also used to interpret the body fantasies of late capitalism (undead, cyborg, armored subjects). Following Marx and psychoanalytic theorists, Krier and Amidon conclude that body ontology is necessary to adequately comprehend and critique symbolic and imaginary productions of capital.

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The Social Ontology of Capitalism


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