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Étienne Balibar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823273607

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823273607.001.0001

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The Social Contract Among Commodities: Marx and the Subject of Exchange

The Social Contract Among Commodities: Marx and the Subject of Exchange

(p.185) Nine: The Social Contract Among Commodities: Marx and the Subject of Exchange
Citizen Subject

Étienne Balibar

, Steven Miller
Fordham University Press

This chapter unfolds the moments of a Marxist critical construction of the universal. From the first, Marx's theory of commodity and money fetishism formed one of the most admired and contested aspects of his “critique” of political economy. In an astonishing fashion, it restores the correlation of sovereignty and subjection to the heart of the modern “social relation” that appears to herald the triumph of free individuality. To this end, it was necessary conceptually to reinscribe the classical schema of the “contract” into the representative and practical space of commodity exchange, whose immediacy he explodes by showing its latent metaphysics, which is also an anthropology and a politics.

Keywords:   Karl Marx, universal, theory of commodity, money fetishism, political economy, modern social relation, free individuality, commodity exchange

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