ERIC Number: EJ1147954
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
Bakhtin and the "General Intellect"
Gardiner, Michael E.
Educational Philosophy and Theory, v49 n9 p893-908 2017
One of the key concepts in autonomist Marxism is the "general intellect." As capitalism develops, labour and its products become increasingly "immaterial", inasmuch as the physical side of production is taken over by automated systems. The result is that all aspects of the collective worker's affective, desiring and cognitive capabilities are now brought to bear on production itself. This problematises capitalistic notions of proprietary control, because it raises the possibility that the mass "cognitive worker," and the inherently co-operative principles it embodies, can detach itself from neoliberal mechanisms of subsumption and valorisation and lay the foundation for a new communalistic ethos. What is intriguing is that several autonomists evoke the work of Mikhail Bakhtin vis-à-vis the "general intellect". Bakhtin did maintain that dialogism is an irreducibly collective phenomenon, and that we all contribute to the continuous making and remaking of language. We do not "own" the words we use; as such, meaning is necessarily plural and heterogeneous, the product of the interaction of many texts and voices that can only be pragmatically and contingently unified. The present article seeks to explore the connection between Bakhtin and autonomism, focusing on the insight that communication is always "more than myself", and hence integral to the "social brain" that is a shared legacy, our "commonwealth". It also raises the possibility of a more "troublesome" Bakhtin than is generally countenanced by the liberal academy, and a concomitantly "dangerous" dialogism that haunts a digitalised and networked world marked in equal measure by tremendous emancipatory promise and catastrophic threat.
Descriptors: Educational Philosophy, Political Attitudes, Neoliberalism, Dialogs (Language), Social Systems, Personal Autonomy, Linguistic Theory
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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