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From Pin Factories to Gold Farmers: Editorial Introduction to a Research Stream on Cognitive Capitalism, Immaterial Labour, and the General Intellect

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This article introduces a series of essays on the related concepts of cognitive capitalism, immaterial labour and the 'general intellect', which will feature in the pages of Historical Materialism from this issue onwards. It outlines the stakes of the theoretical discussion around these concepts and welcomes the recasting in Marxian terms of debates which have o en been monopolised by apologetic treatments of capitalist development. It also identifies five areas which future articles in this 'research stream' will be preoccupied with: (1) the interpretation of Marxian notions, especially arising from the Grundrisse; (2) the philosophy of history and the schemata of social change that underpin concepts such as cognitive capitalism; (3) the identification of hegemonic social figures (e.g. the immaterial labourer, the 'cognitariat'); (4) issues of philosophical anthropology bearing on the definition of knowledge and intellect; (5) the role of debates on value (and its possible crisis) in assessing the idea of knowledge as a productive force.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London


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