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Title: Autonomist Marxism, critique and the Commons in post-2008 social movements
Author: Marshall, Thomas James Henry
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 3364
Awarding Body: Aberystwyth University
Current Institution: Aberystwyth University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the claims of autonomist Marxist theory that contemporary struggles against capitalism are about rejecting capitalism through producing commons. The autonomist approach to commons is significant for social movement theory because, unlike existing Marxist approaches such as neo-Gramscian social movement theory, it places political action in a relation with capital. As a result, autonomist theory establishes a framework for understanding social movements as ?commons movements?, rooted in claims about the nature of commons; the structure of capitalism; and the significance of political action. The thesis explores this framework by applying it to two contemporary social movements: the Bene Comune movement in Rome, Italy, and the Occupy movement in Oakland, U.S.A. These movements are significant because commons, and practices of ?commoning? are both explicit and implicit within the movement practice. It establishes the successes of the autonomist method in offering a thick description of the social movements, their participants, and the local issues that animate them, but less successful at theorising the relationship between social movement practice and capitalism. The final chapters explore the reasons for this, and explore alternative ways of understanding these movements in the context of capital. In the first instance, it looks to other resources that can be found within the intellectual milieu of post-2008 social movements, particularly so-called ?communisation? theory, which proposes a structural explanation of commons, rooted in a theory of secular crisis. Finally, the thesis concludes by suggesting that the primary problem facing autonomist theory as a basis for understanding social movements is its conflation of the logic of the political with the logic of the structural conditions of capital, a conflation which is sclerotic of its attempt to explain the dynamics that underlie the turn towards commons, and limiting of its capacity to explore political strategies at the level of totality.
Supervisor: Kurki, Milja ; Bliesemann de Guevara, Berit Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available