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Title: Atoms organised : on the orientations of theory and the theorisations of organisation in the philosophy of Karl Marx
Author: Hansen, Bue Rubner
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 5671
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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The contemporary crisis has lead to a renewed interest in Marx's critique of political economy. But today it is hard to read Marx as the prophet of a new and better world, hiswritings on capitalism's self-destructive tendencies seem without hope: where Marxbelieved that capitalist organisation would concentrate, homogenise and organise labour and orientate it toward socialism, in today's globalised capitalism the tendency is the opposite, towards precariousness, disorganisation and competition. This raises the problematic of this thesis, that of the relation between orientation and organisation. Where capitalist organisation atomises and differentiates, the starting point for orientation cannot be capitalist organisation. The question emerges: is there a place and orientation of self-organisation in Marx – and what is its possible relation to the critique of the dynamics of capital? To answer this question, I will not focus on Marx's explicit theory of workers' organisation or the party, which is in crisis, but on his theorisation of the epochal problem of organisation under capitalism. Through a reading of some of Marx's central writings, which is sensitive to their historical context, the thesis asks: what is the orientating role of the concepts of organisation and disorganisation in Marx's theory of capital and of revolutionary, history-making practice? From Kant we learn to think the mutual implication of theory and practice through the concept of orientation. Furthermore, we show that Marx's concept of organisation was inspired by Hegel's Philosophy of Nature, which starts from the problem of atomised individuals whose reproduction is contingent. Thus, organisation, when appropriately historicised in terms of this condition of contingency, does not start from the relation between capital and labour, but from the problem of reproduction. In conclusion we arrive at a concept of struggle that starts from resistances and struggles for reproduction, and which poses the question of their combination, self-organisation, and generalisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Marx ; capital