Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access December 31, 2020

The Capitalist Form of Life, and How To Deconstruct It

Bastian Ronge EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Cultural Studies

Abstract

The article sets out the thesis that the social-ontological account based on the form of life concept can be used to analytically and normatively reflect alternative economies and their attempt to overcome capitalistic structures.2 To develop the thesis, I provide conceptual work on the “economic form of life”, pointing at its plasticity due to the general substitutability of economic practices. Against this background, I argue that Capitalism makes use of this plasticity to create a fully commodified, radical contingent form of life. Actors of alternative economies can wake up of from this dream world of Capitalism by using the substitutability of economic practices to deconstruct the capitalist form of life. The two most important practices for doing so are the practices of “in-sourcing” and “solidary out-sourcing”. They also reveal the normative kernel of conviviality, namely to seek to do justice to the economicity of human life. The paper ends with locating the presented form-of-life-account within the strand of literature on alternative economies.

Works Cited

Adloff, Frank. Gifts of Cooperation, Mauss and Pragmatism. Routledge, 2016. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315692982.10.4324/9781315692982Search in Google Scholar

Agamben, Giorgio. The Highest Poverty. Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life. Stanford University Press, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780804786744.10.1515/9780804786744Search in Google Scholar

Althusser, Louis. For Marx. Verso, 2005.10.3917/dec.althu.2005.01Search in Google Scholar

Angehrn, Emil. “Kritik und Versöhnung. Zur Konstellation Negativer Dialektik bei Adorno.” Wozu Adorno? Beiträge zur Kritik und zum Fortbestand einer Schlüsseltheorie des 20. Jahrhunderts, edited by Georg Kohler and Stefan Müller-Doohm, Velbrück, 2007, pp. 267–291.Search in Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques. “Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority.” Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice, edited by Drucilla Cornell, et al., Routledge, 1992, pp. 3–67.Search in Google Scholar

Elder-Vass, David. Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy. Cambridge University Press, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316536421.10.1017/CBO9781316536421Search in Google Scholar

Gangl, Manfred. “The Controversy over Friedrich Pollock’s State Capitalism.” History of the Human Sciences, vol. 29, no. 2, 2016, pp. 23–41.10.1177/0952695116637296Search in Google Scholar

Fraser, Nancy. “Can Society Be Commodities All the Way Down? Post-Polanyian Reflections on Capitalist Crisis.” Economy and Society, vol. 43, no. 4, 2014, pp. 541–58.10.1080/03085147.2014.898822Search in Google Scholar

Fraser, Nancy, and Rahel Jaeggi. Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory. Polity Press, 2018.Search in Google Scholar

Gibson-Graham, J. K. The End of Capitalism (As We Know It). University of Minnesota Press, 2006.Search in Google Scholar

Gibson-Graham, J.K. and Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy. Take back the Economy. An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities. University of Minnesota Press, 2013.10.5749/minnesota/9780816676064.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Habermas, Jürgen. Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. Band 2. Zur Kritik der funktionalistischen Vernunft. Suhrkamp, 1987.Search in Google Scholar

Jaeggi, Rahel. Critique of Forms of Life. Harvard University Press, 2019.10.4159/9780674988712Search in Google Scholar

Jaeggi, Rahel. “A Wide Concept of Economy: Economy as a Social Practice and the Critique of Capitalism.” Critical Theory in Critical Times. Transforming the Global Political and Economic Order, edited by Penelope Deutscher and Christina Lafont, Columbia University Press, 2017, pp. 160–180.10.7312/columbia/9780231181518.003.0008Search in Google Scholar

Jaeggi, Rahel. “Replik-Replik: Ökonomie als soziale Praxis.” Journal for Business, Economics & Ethics, vol. 19, no. 3, 2018, pp. 442–66.10.5771/1439-880X-2018-3-442Search in Google Scholar

Kertscher, Jens, and Jan Müller. Lebensform und Praxisform. Mentis, 2015. https://doi.org/10.30965/9783957438539.10.30965/9783957438539Search in Google Scholar

Laugier, Sandra. “Care, The Ordinary, Forms of Life.” Iride, vol. 29, no. 77, 2016, pp. 109–21.Search in Google Scholar

Laugier, Sandra. “This Is Us: Wittgenstein and the Social.” Philosophical Investigations, vol. 41, no. 2, 2018, pp. 204–22.10.1111/phin.12197Search in Google Scholar

Mauss, Marcel. The Gift. The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Routledge, 1990.Search in Google Scholar

Menke, Christoph. “Für eine Politik der Dekonstruktion. Jaques Derrida über Recht und Gerechtigkeit.” Gewalt und Gerechtigkeit. Derrida – Benjamin, edited by Anselm Haverkamp, Suhrkamp, 1994, pp. 279–286.Search in Google Scholar

Lacan, Jacques. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book 7. Edited by W. W. Jacques-Alain Miller, Norton, 1997.Search in Google Scholar

Mitchell, Timothy. Rule of Experts. Egypt, Techno Politics, Modernity. University of California Press, 2002. https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520928251.10.1525/9780520928251Search in Google Scholar

Neumann, Franz. Behemoth. The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944. Ivan R. Dee, 2009.Search in Google Scholar

Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation. Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Beacon Press, 2001.Search in Google Scholar

Pollock, Friedrich. “State Capitalism. Its Possibilities and Limitations.” Studies in Philosophy and Social Sciences, vol. 9, no. 2, 1941, pp. 200–25.10.5840/zfs19419224Search in Google Scholar

Postone, Moishe. “Critique, State, and Economy.” The Cambridge Companion to Critical Theory, edited by F. L. Rush, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 165–193.10.1017/CCOL0521816602.008Search in Google Scholar

Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press, 2005.Search in Google Scholar

Ronge, Bastian. “Solidarische Ökonomie als Lebensform. Eine theoretische Skizze.“ Solidarische Ökonomie als Lebensform. Berliner Akteure des alternativen Wirtschaftens im Porträt, edited by idem., Transcript, 2016, pp.7-25, doi.org/https://doi.org/10.14361/9783839436622-001.10.14361/9783839436622-001Search in Google Scholar

Schatzki, Theodore. Social Practices. A Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social. Cambridge University Press, 1996. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511527470.10.1017/CBO9780511527470Search in Google Scholar

Thompson, Edward. “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century.” Past & Present, vol. 50, no. 1, 1971, pp. 76–136.10.1093/past/50.1.76Search in Google Scholar

Thoreau, Henry. Walden. Penguin Classics, 2016.10.1515/9781400880799Search in Google Scholar

Wiggershaus, Rolf. “Friedrich Pollock – der letzte Unbekannte der Frankfurter Schule.” Neue Gesellschaft Frankfurter Hefte, vol. 8, 2016, pp. 750–56.Search in Google Scholar

Wright, Eric Olin. Envisioning Real Utopias. Verso, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

Wright, Eric Olin. “Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias.” American Sociological Review, vol. 78, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1–25.10.1177/0003122412468882Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2019-12-20
Accepted: 2020-06-23
Published Online: 2020-12-31

© 2020 Bastian Ronge, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Downloaded on 8.12.2022 from https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/culture-2020-0012/html
Scroll Up Arrow