By Jean-Marie Vincent
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Additional resources for Abstract Labour: A Critique
And if one allows that it is time to do away with the abstraction or the hypostasy called society, one must avoid speaking too readily of a social continuum, characterised by largely invariable space-time co-ordinates, that is, constituting a perfectly marked-out field of study. Society is nothing other than a constellation of groups, networks of interaction and norms in movement; it appears unified only because of the dominance of technical-practical mechanisms of valorisation (or of bureaucratic planning) and state apparatuses.
To make this association is not without risk, however, because neo-conservatism does not seek to replace the reign of reason with anything - it is content with a residual form of reason -whereas the post-modernist currents, in their majority, attempt to eliminate all traces of the imperialism of reason and to replace it with 'reigns without a sovereign' for example, by the multitude of narrations spoken of by JeanFrancois Lyotard or by the epistemological anarchism espoused by Paul Feyerabend. In the first case, we are dealing with a type of thought penetrated by the idea of order, which, in reaction to supposed tendencies towards social entropy, proceeds from a discourse on the necessity of rationality to a discourse about the rationality of necessity.
For Luklics, the teleology of labour, that is, the advancing logic of environment-transforming human activity - a logic which presents itself as the deepest manifestation of the self-production of society and humanity - is a key to the real understanding of Marxism and the dialectical conception of the world. Humanity forges itself in and through labour, that is, through a form of activity which can be defined by the following sequence: intention, representation, elaboration, application of the means of labour to the object of labour, and finally, the product of labour.
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