DISCOURSE & AFFECT -- REPRISE

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Thu Aug 3 00:13:01 MDT 1995


As part of a discussion on discourse and affect (much of which I
missed), Seamus Malone on Sat, 22 Jul 1995 made the following
comment:

>For me it is important to distinguish the difference between
>something which is outside langauge and someting which is
>outside the symbolic- from a marxist perspective,

The above is the first thing I noted.  Seamus continues:

>one has a difficult time understanding the value of labor
>without appealing to an order of symbolic representation (the
>absense of labor represented in the commodity, the absense of
>the commodity represented in money, the absense of money
>represented in banking databases or checks for that matter)
>outside of language-

Now comes another interesting assertion:

>the centrality of language as a metaphor for processess of
>representation it strikes me is particular to the epoch of
>capital and serves the function of occluding the symbolic
>relations of power in labor.

Of course I am taking these statements out of the context of the
discussion, which I don't really understand, but I was quite
intrigued by these statements in isolation.  Why?  Because of a
refusal to identify everything symbolic with "discourse" or
"language", as is so much the fashion these days.  Also the idea
of language as the way of identifying all representation being a
conceti peculiar to capitalism.  For my own reasons I am highly
suspicious of the tendency to use "discourse" in this way, to so
militantly linguify ideological and semantic structures so that
they become equated with "discourse" or "language" itself.  So I
would appreciate an elaboration of your statements with my interst
in mind, Seamus.


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