Stevphen Shukaitis on Thu, 7 Jun 2012 10:01:09 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Upcoming Essex Seminars on Capitalism & the Social

Here’s information on two upcoming seminars at the University of Essex Centre for Work, Organization, and Society. Cheers, Stevphen

18/6 Seminar on Revaluing the Social in Contemporary Capitalism
Monday June 18th, 2012 @ 3PM
University of Essex Room 4SB.5.3
Centre for Work, Organization and Society (

Seminar presentations by: Jason Read (University of Southern Maine) / George Tsogas (Cass, City University) / Stevphen Shukaitis (University of Essex)

General Relations: Transindividuality from Ontology to a Non-Economic Critique of Political Economy
Jason Read (University of Southern Maine)

In the Grundrisse Marx writes “Only in the eighteenth century, in ‘civil society,’ do the various forms of social connectedness confront the individual as a mere means towards his private purposes, as external necessity. But the epoch which produces this standpoint, that of the isolated individual, is also precisely that of the hitherto must developed social (from this standpoint, general) relations.” The contradiction Marx grasped between the increased interconnectedness of economic production and social isolation has only deepened into the twenty-first century: it is the era of commons, of digital connections, but also the era of neoliberal individuation, isolation, and precarious fragmentation. How then to make sense of an era of connection and isolation. I argue that the concept, or rather the problem, of transindividuation, makes possible a conflictual understanding of the genesis of both individuals and social relations. I say problem, or problematic, rather than concept, because transindividuality needs to be grasped in its broadest sense as an ontology of relations (Simondon, Spinoza); a critique of political economy (Marx, Virno, Stiegler); and a constitution of political subjectivity (Balibar, Negri). It is by thinking the interrelation of the ontology, economy, and political that we can think the constitution and transformation of the present.

Cognitive capitalism, organization, and the labour theory of value
George Tsogas (Cass) & Stevphen Shukaitis (Essex)

We address the reasons and methods for renewing a transfusion of ideas between Marxism and organisation and management theorising. We put forward a dialectical approach to the search for O&M theories, by stepping outside disciplinary confines. The Marxian labour theory of value is put forward as the territory for such synthetical exchange to commence. For that task, we make the most of the autonomist Marxist tradition, inasmuch as it offers us a coherent explanation of the social foundations of post-Fordist, contemporary (cognitive) capitalism. We question the contemporary significance and relevance of the Marxian labour theory of value, in an era of deep capitalist crisis, and reach the assertion of the negation of value creation in cognitive capitalism: consumption precedes production and creates – rather than destroys – value. Our aim is to bring to the forefront of O&M theoretical enquiry fundamental questions on the nature of labour, exchange relations and forces of production in contemporary, cognitive capitalism.


26/6 Seminar: Rise of the Flashpublics
Tuesday June 26th, 2012 @ 4PM
University of Essex Room LTB4
Centre for Work, Organization and Society (

Rise of the Flashpublics: State-friended Social Media, User-Generated Discontent, and the Affective Transfer

This presentation examines recent entanglements of social media and political dissent to explore mutations in network sovereignty. Using a number of recent examples (including the US State Department organized Alliance of Youth Movements, the uprisings in Iran and Egypt, KONY 2012, Occupy Wall Street, and the US police networks), it argues that we are witnessing a convergence of sovereign and network powers, one that expresses new modes of control while setting the conditions for new forms of evaluation and antagonism. Network alliances and coalitions have become key actors in constructing a public (now as “State-friended” movements) and dissuading dissent movements (“State-enemied” ones). More specifically, counter-radicalization can take place via creating what I call flashpublics (quickly mobilized networked alliances that distract and prevent other emergent networks). At the same time, these coalitions depend on social media spectators/participants, which are affective transfer points that exceed network capture.

Bio: Jack Z. Bratich is associate professor and department chair of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. He is author of Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture (2008) and coeditor, along with Jeremy Packer and Cameron McCarthy, Foucault, Cultural Studies, and Governmentality (2003). His work applies autonomist social theory to such topics as audience studies, social media, and the cultural politics of secrecy. He is a zine librarian at ABC No Rio in New York City.

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