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Agamben and Radical Politics$
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Daniel McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402637

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402637.001.0001

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‘Man Produces Universally’: Praxis and Production in Agamben and Marx

‘Man Produces Universally’: Praxis and Production in Agamben and Marx

(p.71) 4 ‘Man Produces Universally’: Praxis and Production in Agamben and Marx
Agamben and Radical Politics

Jessica Whyte

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the engagements with Marx that appear in Agamben’s analyses of praxis, history and inoperativity. Whyte begins by analysing Agamben’s treatment of Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts in Man without Content and Infancy and History, before turning to his claim, in The Kingdom the Glory, that Marx secularises the theological paradigm of oikonomia. The chapter then draws on Althusser to argue that there is a major break between the young Marx’s analysis of labour and his later analysis in Capital Volume 1, and that the former obscures the historical specificity of labour under capitalism. Whyte charges Agamben’s genealogy of oikonomia, which traces a continuity between the Greek oikos and contemproary capitalism, with a similar lack of historical specificity, for conflating the labour of the slave with that of the proletarian.

Keywords:   Agamben, Marx, Althusser, capitalism, praxis

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