Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value

Spivak, Gayatri C.

The "idealist" and the "materialist" are both exclusive predications. There
have been attempts to question this exclusivist opposition, generally by way of a
critique of the "idealist" predication of the subject: Nietzsche and Freud are the
most spectacular European examples. Sometimes consciousness is analogized
with labor-power as in the debates over intellectual and manual labor.
Althusser's notion of "theoretical production" is the most controversial instance
[For Marx 173-93]. The anti-Oedipal argument in France seems to assume a certain
body without predication or without predication-function. (The celebrated
"body without organs" is one product of this assumption -see Gilles Deleuze
and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.) I have not yet
been able to read this as anything but a last-ditch metaphysical longing. Since I
remain bound by the conviction that subject-predication is methodologically
necessary, I will not comment upon this anti-Oedipal gesture. The better part of
my essay will concern itself with what the question of value becomes when
determined by a "materialist" subject-predication such as Marx's. This is a theoretical
enterprise requiring a certain level of generality whose particular political
implications I have tabulated in passing and in conclusion. Here it is in my interest
to treat the theory-politics opposition as if intact.


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English and Comparative Literature
Johns Hopkins University Press
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March 17, 2015