By Jean-Marie Vincent
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Extra info for Abstract Labour: A Critique
But by choosing this path, consciousness can never succeed in recognising the full range of 'internal experience' (Bataille's term once again) which refuses to be captivated by projects and possibilities - those which appear to take shape in relationships with others and in the areas traced by these relationships. The internal life which thus no longer allows knowledge to do its work- the self-enclosed knowledge of teleology - opens up to a 'non-knowledge', or significant absence of knowledge- that of emptiness or bareness, or the senselessness of meanings which seek to fill consciousness.
That is why, from Habermas' point of view, the main problem of the day is that of the colonisation of the life-world by systemic forms of organisation which proliferate and overflow their bounds. But he cannot put forward this perspective without relegating class Introduction 9 and power conflicts to a lower order of significance. In so doing, he refuses to see the interlocking relationship between normativity and power in technological mechanisms and systemic processes. The production and interpretation of norms are moulded by the constraints of the extraction of value from labour (a recent example being the implications for Western European social legislation of the drive to make labour more 'flexible').
The book you are about to read, in spite of all its imperfections, seeks to move in this direction. In a certain sense, it was a solitary venture, but it benefited greatly from discussions I have had with friends who share my anxieties and my hopes: Johann Pall Amason, Sami Nair and Denis Berger. H~l~ne Deville played an important part in preparing the manuscript and Jim Cohen performed the translation with great care. My thanks to all of them. -M. V. February 1990 Translator's Note The French edition of Jean-Marie Vincent's book included a subtitle: 'le faire et l'agir' (roughly: 'doing and acting').
Abstract Labour: A Critique by Jean-Marie Vincent