Book review: Karl Marx on Technology and Alienation, written by Amy E. Wendling [Book Review]

Historical Materialism 22 (3-4):505-519 (2014)

Amy Wendling contends in this book that Marx’s concern with alienation is not restricted to his early, more explicitly Hegelian writings, and that it can be seen to evolve throughout his work in tandem with his interest in technology. This evolution, according to Wendling, is marked by his transition between two successive scientific paradigms, both of which pertain to the status of labour and machinery within society. Wendling claims that Marx uses the distinction between them as a means of conducting an immanent critique of capitalist ideology. Consequently, although it is primarily a work of intellectual history, this book offers an interesting contribution to the hermeneutics of Marx’sCapital. In addition, it also bears relation to contemporary discussions concerning real subsumption and the abolition of labour. The book’s general argument raises questions as to the degree to which a conception of alienation must rely upon notions of human essence, and upon an idea of a ‘natural’ and ‘authentic’ humanity. Wendling’s responses to those questions are described as problematic within this review, but they are also acknowledged to be both pertinent and intriguing.
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DOI 10.1163/1569206x-12341362
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Empire.Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri - 2002 - Utopian Studies 13 (1):148-152.

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