Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Wed Jul 19 23:02:52 MDT 1995

On Wed, 12 Jul 1995 owner-marxism-digest at wrote:

> From: Seamus Malone <redye at>
> Date: Wed, 12 Jul 1995 14:22:26 -0400 (edt)
> Subject: Re: Value, psychological and marxist
> I don't think I'm positing a
> transcendent subject or social formation, but rather trying to emphasize
> how both must be understood as social processes which are not outside of
> historical determination, but are articulated in the feild of historical
> change, thus we retain both agency and structure- both acknowledgement of
> historical conditions and the possibility of human agency in that
> process. The last bit was not so much my point as merely to emphasize
> what took me a long time to really digest and that is (back to where we
> began and a term Chris asked clarification on- if I'm not mistaken)
> intersubjectivity, I think he found it outside his feild of experience,
> whereas you, Jon, will not.

OK, Seamus, let's go with this.  I'm happy with "intersubjectivity" as a
term, but I'm not sure what it means (or, rather, how it can be
used) pragmatically and in specific situations--analyses or whatever.
What does "articulated in the field of historical change" mean, for
example, when it isn't just an abstract gesture towards that fact that
"everything's very complex"?

I think this is all quite important, but it seems difficult not to do
better than truisms or banalities.

Here's a bit of Guattari on the same (for what it's worth):

"A certain balance still needs to be struck between structuralist
discoveries--which are certainly not unimportant--and their pragmatic
application, so as not to flounder in the social abandon of
postmodernism" (_Chaosmosis_ 9f.)

I don't think it's worth just gesturing at theory without putting it to
use.  The question seems to be how to understand agency without falling
back on individual subjectivity--or models that imply such subjectivity
(with autonomous brains--the intellectuals, the party...).  How do groups
of people, and bits of people, or agglomerations of bits of people, go
about things, undergo and effect changes?

What, for a start, is a marxist theory of subjectivity?  (and I guess we
can take that to include intersubjectivity)

As I've said, if a bit incoherently, in another post, I think affect is
important to look at in this regard: I think it's similar to (or at least on
the same plane as) what Bourdieu means when he discusses habit, and the
bodily or mechanical inculcations of the habitus.  Though he's far too
pessimistic for my taste.

> Seamus Malone
> redye at

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at

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