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Patent as credit

When intellectual property becomes speculative
by / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article, Dossier, Property, Power, Law

Intellectual properties, the various kinds of which are known as patents, copyright and trademarks, could be regarded as central techniques of accumulation in contemporary capitalism, if immaterial knowledge is indeed what now crucially drives accumulation in a ‘knowledge economy’ or ‘creative industries’. [1] In such a process of value generation and …

Disaggregating primitive accumulation

by / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article, Dossier, Property, Power, Law

For nearly 150 years now, critical theorists of various stripes have attempted to explicate, correct and complement Marx’s discussion of the ‘so-called’ primitive accumulation of capital provided in Part Eight of the first volume of Capital. [1] This is perhaps especially true of Marxism in the English-speaking world. Whereas French and …

Race, real estate and real abstraction

by and / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article, Dossier, Property, Power, Law

The crises and mutations of contemporary capitalism have rendered palpable Marx’s observation according to which in bourgeois modernity human beings are ‘ruled by abstractions’. [1] The processes of financialization animating the dynamics of the 2007–8 crisis involved the violent irruption into the everyday lives of millions of a panoply of ominous …

Global homocapitalism

by / RP 194 (Nov/Dec 2015) / Article

Temples of global capitalism have become increasingly vociferous of late in their opposition to homophobia. In February 2014, shortly after Uganda’s President Museveni gave his assent to a draconian Anti Homosexuality Act, the World Bank announced that it was delaying a US$90 million loan to Uganda on the grounds that the law would adversely affect …

The central bank of symbolic capital

Bourdieu’s On the State
by / RP 193 (Sept/Oct 2015) / Article

On the State comprises edited versions of three lecture courses that Pierre Bourdieu delivered between 1989 and 1992 at the Collège de France during his tenure of a research chair in sociology at that institution (1982–2001). [*] Beginning with the well-worn theme of the difficulties of thinking and studying the state, …

Podemos and its critics

by / RP 193 (Sept/Oct 2015) / Article

Although the movement that gave rise to it began years, if not decades, ago, Podemos, the political party, was born on 17 January 2014. For some, it was the result of years of organizing following the indignados protests, which occupied Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and other plazas across Spain during the summer of 2011. Others …

Nature in the limits to capital (and vice versa)

by / RP 193 (Sept/Oct 2015) / Article

Of all the varieties of crisis thinking, ecological crisis is perhaps the least developed. It is certainly the least conceptualized. To be sure, there is no scar city of empirically rich analyses of biophysical shifts at every scale. But ecological crisis in its popular usage has been an expansive concept, implicating the widest range of …

Anti-castism and misplaced nativism

Mapping caste as an aspect of race
by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article

From September 2013 to February 2014 I led a project on ‘Caste in Britain’ for the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). [*] It culminated in two research reports. [1] The remit of the project was, first, to review existing socio-legal research on British equality law …

Chats perchés

Chris Marker’s mimetic, comical and historical prophecy
by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article, Philosophy of the Essay Film

Jokes between sight and said

Let me start from scratch – with an unspectacular filmic operation that has the minimalistic charm of a one-liner joke. A one-liner joke is a type of verbal joke, one that has it all in one line, just like the joke that Karl Valentin, a Bavarian comedian, once made and …

The history of cinema, as experience

by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article, Philosophy of the Essay Film

Film as metahistory

In 1998 at the Cannes Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard – having completed his Histoire(s) du cinéma project – presented a special reprint of the magazine Trafic. This included an article by the American artist Hollis Frampton. [1] Frampton’s essay, ‘For a Metahistory of Film: Commonplace Notes and Hypotheses’, …

Art, documentary and the essay film

by / RP 192 (July/Aug 2015) / Article, Philosophy of the Essay Film

Film as document

The moment when Siegfried Kracauer knew that he wanted to write of film as what he terms the ‘Discover of the Marvels of Everyday Life’ is relayed in his introduction to the Theory of Film from 1960. [1] Kracauer recalls watching a film long ago that shows a …

Futures present

Lite, dark and missing
by / RP 191 (May/Jun 2015) / Article, Future Stasis

‘The law of the innermost form of the essay is heresy’, Adorno wrote in a sentence used here as the motto for Verso’s new ‘Futures’ series, from which these three books by Augé, Berardi and Virno form the bulk of the first batch. [*] But what becomes of the essay when …

A Marxist heresy?

Accelerationism and its discontents
by / RP 191 (May/Jun 2015) / Article, Future Stasis

In his study of the semantics of historical time, Reinhart Koselleck proposes that ‘two specific determinants’ characterize modernity’s ‘new experience of transition: the expected otherness of the future and, associated with it, the alteration in the rhythm of temporal experience: acceleration, by means of which one’s own time is distinguished from what went before’. If …

Political economy of life

Negt and Kluge’s History and Obstinacy
by / RP 190 (Mar/Apr 2015) / Article

The translation of Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge’s Geschichte und Eigensinn, now finally appearing in English in an edited, shortened version under the title History and Obstinacy, introduces an English-reading public to one of the most eccentric and ambitious books to have emerged from the legacy of the Frankfurt School. [*]

Reason and revolt

Guy Lardreau’s early voluntarism and its limits
by / RP 190 (Mar/Apr 2015) / Article

Guy Lardreau has few rivals for the honour of being the most under-appreciated contemporary French philosopher. [1] A student of Louis Althusser at the École Normale in the late 1960s and a flamboyant figure in Maoist intellectual circles before and after 1968, he remains best known for his searing reflections on …

The day after the insurrection

On First Revolutionary Measures
by / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

It’s been seven years since the cratering of the global economy began in late 2007. While the concerted efforts of the dominant classes and their various client states have enabled, for the time being, the blowing of more bubbles on financial and other markets, a real recovery remains elusive: considerably more than half …

The Neue Marx-Lektüre

Putting the critique of political economy back into the critique of society
by and / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

The project to re-examine Marx’s critique of political economy at the end of the 1960s by pupils of Horkheimer and Adorno is nowadays known as the Neue Marx-Lektüre (hereafter NML). This ‘new reading of Marx’, initiated principally by Alfred Schmidt, Hans-Georg Backhaus and Helmut Reichelt, attempted to free Marx from the petrified schemes of Marxist orthodoxy. In this …

Culture and technics (1965)

by / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

The word culture entails a value judgement, and to a certain extent it relates to an axiological type of content. [*]When used with reference to human culture, its primary meaning is metaphorical, since it looks to the techniques of grain production and gardening for a paradigm of improvement and transformation, a paradigm that might …

Introduction to Simondon

by and / RP 189 (Jan/Feb 2015) / Article

Gilbert Simondon was at the height of his philosophical creativity when, at the end of the 1950s, he wrote his two doctoral theses: ‘Individuation in the Light of the Notions of Form and Information’ and the complementary ‘On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects’. The 1965 essay ‘Culture and Technics’ represents the …

Freud against Oedipus?

by / RP 188 (Nov/Dec 2014) / Article

There is a popular story, even among scholars, that tells us that Freudian psychoanalysis was founded at the very moment that Freud wrote to Fliess (in 1897) that he no longer believed in his Neurotica: ‘Ich glaube an meine Neurotica nicht mehr.’ [1] This story reads this declaration as follows: I …