Organizing Marx's Multitude: A Composition on Decomposition

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Derek Stanovsky Ph.D., Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: This article explores a variety of comparisons and contrasts between competing and conflicting notions of the body and of class composition, decomposition, and recomposition within contemporary Marxian theory. It focuses on the recent distinction drawn by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri between their concept of a nonunified and nonbodily multitude versus more traditional and organic notions of a unified political body emerging through class struggle. Marx's use of the fable of The Belly and the Limbs in volume 1 of Capital provides an alternative conception of the body in which bodily unity is never fixed and where the multitude of Hardt and Negri may also find a home. This reading of Marx is supplemented by discussions of some psychoanalytic and poststructuralist theories of the body from Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Rosi Braidotti, and Slavoj Zizek. These theories of the body, along with the fable that appears in Marx, may provide an alternative way of understanding class composition, decomposition, and recomposition in terms of an appropriately rehabilitated conception of the body.

Additional Information

Stanovsky, D. (2009)"Organizing Marx's Multitude: A Composition on Decomposition." Rethinking Marxism, vol. 21, no. 2: 216-227, April 2009. (ISSN: 0893-5696) Published by Taylor & Francis for the Association for Economic and Social Analysis. This is a preprint. Version of record available online at:
Language: English
Date: 2009
Karl Mark, Marxian theory, body

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