Alienation and Becoming-Active

Check out this thought-provoking post at Unemployed Negativity.  I am not sure we need to junk the idea of alienation as readily as the author thinks, or that Marx’s thoughts on the matter should be bypassed in favor of Capital.  Still, I like the call to think seriously about what it means today to become active.  Perhaps we do can do that best through Ranciere, or D&G, or the autonomists (Berardi’s book is on my list), or maybe even Lefebvre, but in any case I agree it is a vital question.

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2 thoughts on “Alienation and Becoming-Active

  1. Perhaps because I am steeped in Adorno right now, but I think perhaps the most efficient way to “become active” is not to become active in the more traditional sense, but to study seriously the aesthetic sphere. Adorno posits the autonomous artwork as exposing the alienating social relations of production while simultaneously constituting what Ranciere might call politics–changing the distribution of the sensible of the police. I think, then, that in order to overcome alienation, one must go beyond what is–in this current distribution of the sensible–considered activism, instead opting for something a bit less hierarchized and more rhizomatic–art.

    • Thanks for you comment. I agree that becoming active is not at all limited to traditional political activism (i.e. organizing, demonstrating, etc.), and it would necessitate a struggle against hierarchy in that sphere. I also agree that the aesthetic sphere is absolutely critical. Ranciere is so good on how the spectator is actively engaged in critical processing of what she is seeing. And there are many other spheres as well: the shopper in the grocery store, the student in the classroom, the worker in the factory, the child in the family, etc. Becoming active applies across all these spheres. But of course it also applies to the masses in Tahrir, Syntagma, Sol, and Zuccotti as well.

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