Faculty Colloquium III: Jodi Dean

What Grundrisse tells us about Uber: capitalism's neofeudalizing dynamics
Wednesday 3 Nov 2021, 16:00 - 17:30
Spoken Language
Polak 1-20
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This event can be attended online and offline. If you would like to join us on campus please be at Polak 1-20 at 16.00. Rather watch this from home? You can use Zoom and participate with the following link: https://eur-nl.zoom.us/j/96413424461 


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"When you hear about folks talking about the new economy, the gig economy, the innovation economy - it's fucking feudalism all over again."  In this third session of 2021-2022, American political theorist and professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Jodi Dean will give a talk. She will speak on inequality, on how the capitalist 'laws of motion' are themselves generating neofeudalism and on Uber and the Grundrisse. 

Capitalism’s monopoly concentration, intensified inequality, and subjection of the state to the market are producing a neofeudalism where accumulation occurs as much through rent, debt, destruction, and political power as it does through commodity production. The counter-revolution of neoliberalism has been a process of privatization, fragmentation, and separation. Formerly public services, goods, and spaces have been carved up and privatized, the social and collective positioned as constraining to hyper-individualized freedom. This so-called freedom resembles the “dot-like isolation” in which the individual “appears as a free worker” that Marx identifies in the Grundrisse as he explores the social property relations that capitalism presupposes and destroys. The freedom of the worker under capitalism is negative – free from owning property in land or labor as well as free from the bonds of serfdom or slavery. Cut off from the conditions through which they can reproduce themselves, the proletarianized are compelled to sell their labor power to survive. The proletarianized today are caught up in a new kind of serfdom, dependent on networks and practices through which rents are extracted at every turn. That we are proletarianized means that we continue to be dependent on the market for access to our means of life. Yet we have also been separated from the market and in that separation come under a doubled dependence, a dependence on intermediaries that will themselves provide us with market access – for a fee.

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Jodi Dean (born April 9, 1962) is an American political theorist and professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state. She held the Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship of the Humanities and Social Sciences from 2013 to 2018. Dean has also held the position of Erasmus Professor of the Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is the author and editor of thirteen books. Her most recent book is entitled Comrade: An Essay on Political Belonging (Verso 2019).

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