Outline of a Marxist Commodity Theory of the Public Sphere

in Historical Materialism
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In recent years, the public sphere, which represents a realm in civil society where people can debate and discuss a range of issues and common concerns important to them, has become a key area for research in the humanities and social sciences. Arguably, however, Marxist theory has yet to advance a theoretical account of the most abstract and simple ideological properties of the capitalist public sphere as these appear under universal commodity relationships. The paper therefore tentatively seeks to develop such an account. Specifically, the paper theoretically derives a peculiar public sphere under capitalism, which is mediated between at least two commodity owners who also possess distinctive personalities driven by desires to own commodities. The paper then explains in more detail how the social form of this public sphere develops through other elements of commodity relations and their contradictions.

Outline of a Marxist Commodity Theory of the Public Sphere

in Historical Materialism

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  • 1

    Emirbayer and Sheller 1998p. 738 original emphasis.

  • 2

    Somers 1993p. 589.

  • 3

    Coleman and Ross 2010pp. 29–30.

  • 4

    Dean 2005p. 62; see also Henwood 2005 p. 25; Žižek 1997 pp. 111–13; and Žižek 2008 pp. 11–12.

  • 5

    Marx 1988p. 125.

  • 6

    Tinker 2005pp. 113–14.

  • 7

    Marx 1988p. 102.

  • 8

    See also Fornäs 2013Chapter 2 for an extremely clear discussion of this Marxist method.

  • 9

    Eley 1992p. 321.

  • 10

    See for example Fraser 1995.

  • 11

    Negt and Kluge 1993.

  • 14

    Keane 1988p. 6.

  • 15

    Calhoun 1995.

  • 16

    Wood 1995pp. 252–6.

  • 17

    Habermas 1989originally published in 1962.

  • 19

    Somers 1995p. 125 original emphasis. See also Bang and Esmark (eds.) 2007.

  • 20

    Habermas 1989p. 46.

  • 21

    Habermas 1996p. 360.

  • 22

    Habermas 1996pp. 366–7.

  • 23

    Habermas 1996p. 305.

  • 24

    Habermas 1996pp. 118–19.

  • 25

    Habermas 1996p. 444.

  • 26

    Habermas 1996p. 133.

  • 27

    Abizadeh 2007.

  • 28

    Habermas 1996p. 122.

  • 29

    Habermas 1996p. 263.

  • 30

    Scheuerman 2002p. 69; Smith 2006 pp. 338–9.

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    See Roberts 2012.

  • 32

    Fuchs 2013p. 183.

  • 33

    Warner 2002pp. 423–4. See also Asen and Brouwer (eds.) 2001.

  • 34

    Hartley 1998; Villa 1992.

  • 35

    Mitchell 2003.

  • 36

    Fraser 1992 and 1995.

  • 37

    Fraser 1995p. 295.

  • 38

    Fraser 2014p. 16.

  • 39

    Fraser 2014.

  • 40

    Fraser 2014pp. 30–1.

  • 41

    Fraser 2005p. 76 original emphasis.

  • 42

    Fraser 2005p. 75.

  • 44

    Fraser 1995p. 76.

  • 46

    Hollis 1970pp. 221–2.

  • 47

    Cited in Thompson 1984p. 137 original emphasis.

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    Fraser 1995p. 85.

  • 49

    Smith 2006.

  • 50

    See Bonefeld 2010.

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    Albritton 2007pp. 166–8.

  • 52

    Negt and Kluge 1993p. 2.

  • 53

    Negt and Kluge 1993p. 22.

  • 54

    Barrett 2012; Downey and Fenton 2003.

  • 55

    Negt and Kluge 1993p. 60.

  • 56

    Negt and Kluge 1993pp. 82–4.

  • 57

    Negt and Kluge 1993p. 29.

  • 58

    Marx 1988p. 130.

  • 59

    Clarke 1991p. 101 original emphasis.

  • 60

    Marx 1988p. 90.

  • 61

    Marx 1988p. 125.

  • 62

    Brown 2007p. 509.

  • 63

    Marx 1988p. 899.

  • 64

    Bakhtin 1993p. 31.

  • 65

    Bakhtin 1986p. 87. See also Bakhtin 1981 p. 312; Voloshinov 1973 p. 20.

  • 66

    Bakhtin 1990p. 118.

  • 67

    Adorno 1990pp. 261–2.

  • 68

    Adorno 1990p. 262.

  • 69

    Marx 1988p. 178.

  • 70

    Franco 1999p. 173.

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    Adorno 1990p. 309.

  • 72

    Hegel 2000§33A.

  • 73

    Pashukanis 1983p. 118.

  • 74

    Kay and Mott 1984p. 264.

  • 75

    Kay and Mott 1982p. 4.

  • 76

    Hegel 2000§45.

  • 77

    Kay and Mott 1982p. 3.

  • 78

    Hegel 2000§71R.

  • 79

    Voloshinov 1973p. 79; see also McNally 2001 pp. 111–12.

  • 80

    See Bakhtin and Medvedev 1991.

  • 81

    See Bakhtin 1981p. 291.

  • 82

    Bakhtin 1984p. 91.

  • 83

    See Bakhtin 1990.

  • 84

    Marx 1988pp. 164–5.

  • 85

    Adorno 2001pp. 38–9.

  • 86

    Bakhtin 1984p. 79.

  • 87

    Bakhtin and Medvedev 1991p. 7. See also Deleuze 1994 p. 127; Žižek 1997 pp. 100–5.

  • 88

    Bakhtin 1984p. 79. See also Bakhtin 1981 p. 342.

  • 89

    See Bourdieu 1984; Poulantzas 2000.

  • 90

    Hadden 1994p. 137.

  • 91

    Adorno 1990p. 172.

  • 92

    See also Cook 2004Chapter 3.

  • 93

    Hall 2005pp. 12–13.

  • 94

    Hall 2005p. 24.

  • 95

    Sayer 2005p. 161.

  • 96

    Sayer 2005p. 152.

  • 98

    Bakhtin 1981p. 342. See also Bakhtin 1990 pp. 65–6.

  • 99

    See Larrain 1983p. 158.

  • 100

    See Larrain 1983p. 125.

  • 101

    Mouffe 2005; 2013.

  • 102

    Mouffe 2013p. 5.

  • 103

    Mouffe 2005p. 30; Mouffe 2013 pp. 8–9. See also Laclau and Mouffe 1985 p. 105.

  • 104

    Mouffe 2013p. 7.

  • 105

    Mouffe 2005p. 20.

  • 106

    Mouffe 2005p. 53.

  • 107

    Mouffe 2005pp. 20–1.

  • 108

    See for example Knops 2007.

  • 109

    Marx 1977p. 879.

  • 110

    Marx 1988p. 274.

  • 111

    Marx 1988p. 1017.

  • 112

    See Bonefeld 2004; Postone 1996.

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