Competitiveness and Critique: The Value of a New-Materialist Research Project

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

Following Marcus Taylor's critique of Paul Cammack's 'new materialism', this paper proposes a New-Materialist Research Project (NMRP) borne out of a synthesis of the insights of both open Marxism and Cammack's project. The rationale for this lies in the conviction that a more 'applied' focus upon specific forms of contemporary class practice can aid open Marxism to move beyond general and abstract critique, thereby making an original and critical contribution to our understanding of the contemporary management of global capitalism. While the proposed NMRP refutes the problematic theorisation of relative autonomy in Cammack's original proposal, it is argued that a more rigorously theorised NMRP can extend negative critique to the current activities of international regulative agencies. By focusing on the activities of such agencies – beginning with their discursive operations – it is possible to discern how contemporary forms of ideology operate in a retroactive manner, obfuscating and distorting the contradictions being played out across the world market; and also how such agencies are seeking to exercise unprecedented levels of intervention and control in the management of individual national 'capitalisms', and under the rubric of promoting 'competitiveness'.

Competitiveness and Critique: The Value of a New-Materialist Research Project

in Historical Materialism

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