To Have Done with Alienation: Or, How to Orient Oneself in Ideology

Knox Peden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In a recent indictment of “neoliberal aesthetics,” Walter Benn Michaels suggests that any aesthetic or interpretative effort that promotes vision over form—that is, the primacy of the beholder over the unity of the artwork—is complicit with a politics in which “the structural difference between capital and labor (a difference that no degree of identification can alter) is imagined out of existence.”1 Michaels’s argument takes the form of an extended reflection on the fate of absorption and theatricality in a neoliberal age, using the originator of these aesthetic concepts, Michael Fried, as its guide, alongside critical discussions of Roland Barthes and Jacques Rancière. For something to be endowed with form requires it to be imbued with intention; it is to be the result of an action that is purposive at a minimum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Concept in Crisis
Subtitle of host publicationReading Capital Today
EditorsNick Nesbitt
PublisherDuke University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780822372905
ISBN (Print)9780822369073
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Marx
  • Kapital
  • Capital
  • Marxian economics
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy, Marxist


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