Marxian Theory and the Critique of Work
The introduction situates the study within the context of contemporary debates about the nature of work and examines the place of the French critique of work in these discussions. Drawing upon the new ‘critique of value’ school of critical theory—represented, among others, by Robert Kurz and Moishe Postone—the chapter criticises traditional conceptions of labour as a natural, rational and transhistorical abstraction. It explores two fundamentally different approaches to the critique of work, that of ‘phenomenological’ versus ‘categorical’ critique, found in the work of Karl Marx. The Introduction argues that an understanding of these two different modes of critique provides a powerful new basis for the critical analysis of the historical critiques of work examined in this study.