laboring to return to immanence w/ tiziana terranova

“This return to immanence, that is, to a flattening out of social, cultural, and political connections, has important consequences for me. As Negri, Haraway, and Deleuze and Guattari have consistently argued, the demolition of the modernist ontology of the Cartesian subject does not have to produce the relativism of the most cynical examples of postmodern theory. The loss of transcendence, of external principles which organize the social world from the outside, does not have to end up in nihilism, a loss of strategies for dealing with power.

Such strategies cannot be conjured by critical theory. As the spectacular failure of the Italian Autonomy reveals, Berardi, La nefasta utopia. the purpose of critical theory is not to elaborate strategies that then can be used to direct social change. On the contrary, as the tradition of cultural studies has less explicitly argued, it is about working on what already exists, on the lines established by a cultural and material activity that is already happening. In this sense this essay does not so much propose a theory as it identifies a tendency that already exists in the Internet literature and on-line exchanges. This tendency is not the truth of the digital economy; it is necessarily partial just as it tries to hold to the need for an overall perspective on an immensely complex range of cultural and economic phenomena. Rather than retracing the holy truths of Marxism on the changing body of late capital, free labor embraces some crucial contradictions without lamenting, celebrating, denying, or synthesizing a complex condition. It is, then, not so much about truth-values as about relevance, the capacity to capture a moment and contribute to the ongoing constitution of a nonunified collective intelligence outside and in between the blind alleys of the silicon age.”

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