March 12 2013: The New Spirit of Capitalism
How has a new and virulent form of capitalism—they label it a ‘connexionist’ or ‘network’ variant—with an even more disastrous impact on the fabric of a common life than its predecessors, managed to install itself so smoothly and inconspicuously in France, without attracting either due critical attention or any organized resistance from forces of opposition, vigorous a generation ago, now reduced to irrelevancy or cheerleading?
This is how Sebastian Budgen describes the question asked by The New Spirit of Capitalism in his review for the New Left Review [PDF].
Next week we will be discussing the book’s second chapter, “The Formation of the Projective City,” which analyses the ways that the network becomes not only a descriptive tool (e.g. Castells’ Rise of the Network Society) but a model of justice for contemporary capitalism.
One caveat: the chapter is rather long (60 pages). The argument is pretty well laid out, however, so you could skip over chunks of each section without missing too much. For those interested, I’ve also linked to an article-length treatment of the argument that Boltanski and Chiapello published around the release of the book in English.
[PDF] Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). “The Formation of the Projective City” The New Spirit of Capitalism (G. Elliott, Trans.). London: Verso.
[PDF] Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The New Spirit of Capitalism. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 18(3-4), 161-188.