Marx, Structure and Exposition.

Plenty has been written on Marx’s method of presentation in Capital. Has anything been written on the problem of exposition in Marx’s presentation in Capital? Or the problem of exposition of other works with dialectical structures?

I’m finding this issue somewhat troublesome as I try to exposit the role that fetishism plays in Capital. Unlike the majority of other works on fetishism, I am focusing on expositing how Marx deploys the concept across the three volumes of Capital from the fetish character of commodities to the Trinity Formula. This means that I have to exposit how fetishism features at these different levels of abstraction and how these different levels of abstraction fit into Marx’s critique of political economy.

The first way I tried to do this was by first expositing the fetish character of commodities and money. I then had a section summarizing how these fetish forms fit into the class relation and how the class relation fit into the overarching dominating form of capital as the automatic subject. When I moved to the Trinity Formula I found that Marx summarized much of this himself –as well as other important facet of valorization such as relative surplus value, circulation interest-bearing capital etc– adding too much repetition to my exposition.

My new plan is to summarize the different types of fetishism and then move to fleshing out how these forms consist in abstract forms of domination and compulsion for individuals on either side of the class relation by moving the section I had on the class relation and domination to after the section on the Trinity Formula. I think this will work better but my worry is that my account will minimize the class relation.

The other difficulty I am finding in expositing Marx is how his strategy of presentation unfolding over different levels of abstraction leads him to add elements to the same phenomena over the course of this presentation. This means that exposition runs the risk of being too simple–as is the case with some types of exposition that base their definitions of value on the first pages or chapter one– or too fucking big and repetitive like my exposition of the fetish character of commodities is now because it exposits both the value form section in chapter and Marx’s summary of the social constitution of the fetish character of commodities that follows the famous defining paragraphs repeating some of the aspects of the value form section, neglecting others, and adding a morsel of human activity.

About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
This entry was posted in exposition, Marx. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s