Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-24T20:54:31.989Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 13 - In Service to Capital: Theater and Marxist Cultural Theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2022

Colleen Lye
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
Christopher Nealon
Affiliation:
Johns Hopkins University
Get access

Summary

In the vast and growing scholarship on today’s service sector, the performing arts play a starring role. But the usefulness of performance for explaining how service fits into a capitalist economy is nothing new. Karl Marx, in his critique of political economy, used theater as proof that services could be subsumed to capital. The fact that service work today is increasingly organized along capitalist lines is not evidence that society has entered a kind of post-capitalism. As Marx himself recognized, service under capitalism has always been potentially subject to the law of value. Yet the clarity of Marx’s argument about the economic relation of services like theater to capital has been obscured by the tendency of Marxist cultural theory to either focus on theater’s role in struggles against capital or misgauge theater’s economic proximity to capital. Theater, thus, has become a missed opportunity in Marxist cultural theory for studying a deindustrial society filled with service jobs. Clarifying theater’s economic relation to capital can illuminate the limits capital faces as the jobs its workers do increasingly resemble performance.

Type
Chapter
Information
After Marx
Literature, Theory, and Value in the Twenty-First Century
, pp. 209 - 224
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Adorno, Theodor. Aesthetic Theory. Continuum, 2002.Google Scholar
Althusser, Louis. For Marx. Verso, 2005.Google Scholar
Baumol, William and Bowen, William. Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma. MIT Press, 1966.Google Scholar
Beech, Dave. Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics. Brill, 2015.Google Scholar
Benjamin, Walter. “The Author as Producer.” The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media, edited by Jennings, Michael W. et al., translated by Jephcott, Edmund et al. Harvard University Press, 2008, pp. 7995.Google Scholar
Bernes, Jasper. The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization. Stanford University Press, 2017.Google Scholar
Boyle, Michael Shane. “Performance and Value: The Work of Theatre in Karl Marx’s Critique of Political Economy.” Theatre Survey, vol. 58, no. 1, 2017, pp. 323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brecht, Bertolt. “Dialectical Dramatic Writing.” Brecht on Theatre, edited by Silberman, Marc et al. Bloomsbury, 2014, pp. 5161.Google Scholar
Brouillette, Sarah. “Creative Labour.” Mediations, vol. 24, no. 2, 2009, pp. 140149.Google Scholar
Caffentzis, George. In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism. PM Press, 2013.Google Scholar
Eagleton, Terry. Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary Theory. Verso, 1978.Google Scholar
Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from Cultural Writings. Lawrence & Wishart, 2012.Google Scholar
Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio. Empire. Harvard University Press, 2000.Google Scholar
Heinrich, Michael. An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s “Capital. Monthly Review Press, 2012.Google Scholar
Hochschild, Arlie Russell. The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. University of California Press, 1983.Google Scholar
Jameson, Fredric. Marxism and Form. Princeton University Press, 1974.Google Scholar
Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Cornell University Press, 1982.Google Scholar
Jarcho, Julia. Writing and the Modern Stage: Theater beyond Drama. Cambridge University Press, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lehmann, Hans-Thies. Postdramatic Theatre. Routledge, 2006.Google Scholar
Marx, Karl. Economic Works of Karl Marx 1861–1864, Volume 34. Lawrence & Wishart, 2010.Google Scholar
Marx, Karl. Grundrisse. Penguin, 1993.Google Scholar
Marx, Karl. Theories of Surplus Value. Lawrence & Wishart, 2005.Google Scholar
Roberts, John. The Intangibilities of Form: Skill and Deskilling in Art after the Readymade. Verso, 2007.Google Scholar
Rose, Gillian. The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno. Verso, 2014.Google Scholar
Shaked, Nizan. The Synthetic Proposition: Conceptualism and the Political Referent in Contemporary Art. Manchester University Press, 2017.Google Scholar
Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations: Books iiii. Penguin, 1999.Google Scholar
Smith, Jason E.Nowhere to Go: Automation Then and Now, Part ii.” The Brooklyn Rail, 2017, https://brooklynrail.org/2017/04/field-notes/Nowhere-to-Go-Automation-Then-and-Now-Part-Two.Google Scholar
Virno, Paolo. A Grammar of the Multitude. Semiotext(e), 2014.Google Scholar
Williams, Raymond. Drama from Ibsen to Brecht. Hogarth Press, 1987.Google Scholar
Williams, Raymond. Marxism and Literature. Oxford University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
Williams, Raymond. “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory.” New Left Review, vol. 82, 1973, pp. 316.Google Scholar
Williams, Raymond. “Drama in a Dramatized Society.” Writing in Society. Verso, 1991, pp. 1120.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×