Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor

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Karen Lynn Gregory
Joss Winn


With the production of this special issue of Workplace, we hope to contribute to a negative critique of academic labor that not only helps make such “productive” social relations more transparent, but situates academic labor as an object of critique within the discourse of recent developments in Marxist praxis. To undertake this, we sought papers that acknowledge the foundational work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for labor theory and engaged closely and critically with the critique of political economy. Marx regarded his discovery of the “dual character” of labor in capitalism (i.e. concrete and abstract) as one of his most important achievements and “the pivot on which a clear comprehension of political economy turns.” (Marx, 1996, 51) With this in mind, we sought contributions that employ Marx’s and Engels’ critical categories of labor, value, the commodity, capital, etc. in reflexive ways which illuminate the role and character of academic labor today and how its existing form might be, according to Marx, abolished, transcended and overcome (aufheben).

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Author Biography

Karen Lynn Gregory, University of Edinburgh

Lecturer, Sociology