The Negation of Abnegation

Marx on Consumption

in Historical Materialism
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

This essay revisits Karl Marx’s understanding of consumption, in an effort to rescue it from the overshadowing legacy of critical theory which has construed Marx as inveighing against false needs. It is argued that Marx regarded the expansion of needs entailed by capitalism in a generally favourable way, but saw capitalism as a system yoking use-value to the imperatives of profit accumulation, hence limiting and subjugating the consumption of the masses. While Marx’s position was radically different from conventional anti-consumerism it is equally incompatible with complacent affirmations of ‘the consumer society’ in that Marx at all times aimed at a revolutionary change which will transform consumption both quantitatively and qualitatively. Marx’s views are first discussed as expressed in the perennially-cited text, the 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. The second part moves on to examine the further evolution of Marx’s ideas as found in later texts, particularly the Grundrisse.

The Negation of Abnegation

Marx on Consumption

in Historical Materialism

Sections

References

ApplebyJoyce 1994‘Consumption in Early Modern Social Thought’ in Consumption and the World of Goods edited by John Brewer and Roy PorterLondon: Routledge.

BarberBenjamin R. 2007Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children Infantilize Adults and Swallow Citizens WholeLondon: W.W. Norton & Company.

BaronianLaurent 2013Marx and Living LabourLondon: Routledge.

BellDaniel 1976The Cultural Contradictions of CapitalismNew York: Basic Books.

BraudelFernand 1992Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th Century Volume I: The Structures of Everyday Life translated by Siân ReynoldsBerkeley: University of California Press.

Conan DoyleArthur 2005The New Annotated Sherlock HolmesVolume 1 edited by Leslie S. KlingerLondon: W.W. Norton & Company.

CorriganPeter 2011The Sociology of Consumption: An IntroductionLondon: Sage.

FineBen 2002The World of Consumption: The Material and Cultural RevisitedSecond EditionLondon: Routledge.

FrommErich 1970 [1961]Marx’s Concept of ManNew York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co.

FrommErich 1976To Have or to Be?New York: Harper & Row.

GraafJohn deDavid Wann and Thomas H. Naylor 2005Affluenza: The All-Consuming EpidemicSecond EditionSan Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

HanwayJonas 1757A Journal of Eight Days Journey from Portsmouth to Kingston upon Thames with Miscellaneous Thoughts Moral and Religious in a Series of Letters: to which is added an Essay on TeaVolume 2London: Printed for H. Woodfall and C. Henderson.

HeineHeinrich 1993Selected Prose edited and translated by Ritchie RobertsonHarmondsworth: Penguin.

HeinrichMichael 2012An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s ‘Capital’ translated by Alexander Locasio New York: Monthly Review Press.

HenningChristoph 2005Philosophie nach Marx. 100 Jahre Marxrezeption und die normative Sozialphilosophie der Gegenwart in der KritikBielefeld: transcript Verlag.

HumpheryKim 2010Excess: Anti-Consumerism in the WestCambridge: Polity Press.

HuxleyAldous 1994 [1932]Brave New WorldLondon: Flamingo.

IllouzEva 1997Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of CapitalismBerkeley: University of California Press.

KarataniKojin 2005Transcritique: On Kant and Marx translated by Sabu KohsoCambridge, MA.: The MIT Press.

LeeMartyn J. 2000‘Introduction’ in The Consumer Society Reader edited by Martyn J. LeeOxford: Blackwell.

LodziakConrad 2002The Myth of ConsumerismLondon: Pluto Press.

LubbockJules 1994The Tyranny of Taste: The Politics of Architecture and Design in Britain 1550–1960The Paul Mellon Centre, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

MandelErnest 1999Late Capitalism translated by Joris de BresLondon: Verso.

MarxKarl 1990Marx–Engels–WerkeVolume 13Berlin: Dietz Verlag.

MarxKarl 1991Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 3 translated by David FernbachHarmondsworth: Penguin.

MarxKarl 1992a‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts’ in Early Writings translated by Rodney Livingstone and Gregor BentonHarmondsworth: Penguin.

MarxKarl 1992bCapital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 2 translated by David FernbachHarmondsworth: Penguin.

MarxKarl 1993Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy translated by Martin NicolausHarmondsworth: Penguin.

MarxKarl 2000Theories of Surplus Value Books I II and IIIAmherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

MarxKarl 2010The Poverty of PhilosophyNew Delhi: People’s Publishing House.

MarxKarl and Friedrich Engels 1975The Holy Family or Critique of Critical CriticismMoscow: Progress Publishers.

MarxKarl and Friedrich Engels 1976Marx–Engels Collected WorksVolume 5April 1845–April 1847New York: International Publishers.

MiklitschRobert 1998From Hegel to Madonna: Towards A General Economy of ‘Commodity Fetishism’Albany: State University of New York Press.

MillerDaniel 1995‘Consumption as the Vanguard of History: A Polemic by Way of an Introduction’ in Acknowledging Consumption: A Review of New Studies edited by Daniel MillerLondon: Routledge.

MillerDaniel 2012Consumption and its ConsequencesCambridge: Polity Press.

OllmanBertell 1976Alienation: Marx’s Conception of Man in Capitalist SocietyCambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SassatelliRoberta 2007Consumer Culture: History Theory and PoliticsLondon: Sage Publications.

SayersSean 1998Marxism and Human NatureAbingdon: Routledge.

SchorJuliet B. 1998The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t NeedNew York: Basic Books.

Schor Juliet B. and Douglas B. Holt (eds.) 2000The Consumer Society ReaderNew York: The New Press.

SlaterDon 1997Consumer Culture and ModernityCambridge: Polity Press.

SmithAdam 1999 The Wealth of Nations. Books I–III edited by Andrew SkinnerHarmondsworth: Penguin.

StovallTyler 2015Paris and the Spirit of 1919: Consumer Struggles Transnationalism and RevolutionCambridge: Cambridge University Press.

VaneigemRaoul 2006 [1967]The Revolution of Everyday Life translated by Donald Nicholson-SmithLondon: Rebel Press.

WardeAlan 2015‘The Sociology of Consumption: Its Recent Development’Annual Review of Sociology41: 117134.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 88 88 44
Full Text Views 33 33 23
PDF Downloads 19 19 14
EPUB Downloads 2 2 0