“It’s New But Not That New”: On the Continued Use of Old Marx
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- Bassi, C. Fem Leg Stud (2010) 18: 69. doi:10.1007/s10691-010-9146-1
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This essay reviews Skeggs’ and Wilson’s papers in this issue of Feminist Legal Studies in terms of their development of, and departure from, ideas central to the Italian post-Marxist, post-workerist tradition; specifically their understanding that capital is increasingly converging with the production and reproduction of social life itself. I interrogate the assumed necessity to move beyond ‘the limitations of Marx’ by revealing, via the Communist Manifesto, Grundrisse and Capital, how the ideas of ‘old’ Marx can offer important engagements and interlocutions with the ‘new’ empirical phenomena explored by Skeggs and Wilson. I show how Marx’s notion of creative destruction is in tune with Wilson’s work on the erotic generativity of capitalism, and how his observations on labour-time as the measure of value illuminate the exchange and circulation of Wife Swap. Finally, I suggest that we might be wary not to lose sight of the question of resistance by regarding immaterial labour as productive labour, and thus relinquishing Marx’s conceptual tools of labour, value and capital.