Aldous 1 Rachel I.

Aldous Professor Macpherson ENG 776 1 March 2010 Marx Response I am familiar with the section Estranged Labour, but knew it as the fetish nature of the commodity. Reading this section it struck me how similar it is to Judith Butler s Giving an Account of Oneself. When Marx writes, The estrangement of man, and in fact every relationship in which man stands to himself, is first realized and expressed in the relationship in which a man stands to other men, this seems eerily similar to Butler s discussion of how a subject is formed in relation to others and how that results in a subject s opaqueness to itself (77). I am fascinated with Butler s argument, but have been thinking lately about how it would be complicated if we were to situate it in a conversation about materiality. Butler argues that what a subject can be is limited by the conditions under which that subject emerges including the interlocutor. She goes on to say that the interlocutor becomes a part of the speaking subject since it is implicit in its formation. In the abstracted metaphysical sense this is something I can get on board with, but I have been concerned about how this would play out if we consider these dynamics in the material realm. I think the fetish nature of the commodity might offer a model to begin thinking about Butler s theory in a material sense. However, this is complicated by the fact that even Marx abstracts the worker in his description of the worker s labour. He first comments, [ ] the worker sinks to the level of

as a physical subject. first as a worker. The extremity of this bondage is that it is only as a worker that he continues to maintain himself as a physical subject. hence. Although physical subject is quite ambiguous. . it enables him to exist. I think there could be work done with the moment when Marx writes. Marx s commodity is consistently equated with an object. and that it is only as a physical subject that he is a worker. and. and to be an object requires the erasure of subjectivity. Therefore. second. as I not objectified. but what becomes exchanged is not the worker but his labour (70). since he retains his subjectivity. He is material without being an object. the momentarily redeeming quality of The Confessions of Nat Turner is that Grey must give Turner subjectivity in order to condemn him.Aldous 2 a commodity [ ] which would allow for an understanding of subjectivity as a material. exchangeable object. In narratives dealing with the exchange of slaves it was necessary for their subjectivity to be denied. (73). this offers a moment where the subject is considered in a material sense in relation to the production of the commodity.

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