Download Abstract Labour: A Critique by Jean-Marie Vincent PDF

By Jean-Marie Vincent

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Additional info for Abstract Labour: A Critique

Example text

Introduction In the following pages I have sought to trace as closely as possible the major problems of our time. But I do not define them according to the dominant currents of thought at the present moment, since these are frequently steeped in reactive - not to say reactionary - passion with respect to the recent past; or else they are fraught with disabused resignation to the accomplished facts of the present and the aberrant paths taken by contemporary societies. The abandonment of critical thought tries to wave an attractive banner by 'rediscovering' the individual and the subject, without much original effort, and by substituting them for the fallen divinities of transparent History and transparent Society.

The obvious result is that the social cannot be explained through the predeterminations of production and reproduction of life 8 Introduction or by power and its numerous modulations; effort should always be made to grasp the social as being fundamentally linked to activities of interpretation of interaction and action. This Habermasian theme demonstrates its great force when it is confronted with reductive explanations of the individual or the social. But one can nonetheless wonder whether, as a consequence of successive theoretical 'slippages', Habermas has not come to accord too much privilege to the normative moment in activities of communication and interpretation.

In fact, there is a subordination of the social life-world to the system-character of value (or 'real abstractions') because the social life-world intervenes in and nourishes the mechanisms of its own subordination. This means, more precisely, that the social life-world runs up not only against external obstacles but also against its own unilateral orientations, which manifest themselves as. communicative acts or exchanges of information in the perspective of valorisation (self-evaluation conditioned by the valorisation of others and of objects), and as rigid norms which protect and sanction the exchanges of values, to the detriment of other kinds of exchanges.

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