Dec 05, 2022  
College Catalog 2022-2023 
    
College Catalog 2022-2023

MCST 276 - Marx, the Imaginary, and Neoliberalism

Cross-Listed as GERM 276 POLI 276 , and RELI 276  
All readings and class taught in English; no pre-knowledge required. Marx’s contribution to the theorization of the function of the imaginary in both the constitution of subjectivity and the mechanisms of politics and economy-usually referred to as ideology-cannot be overestimated. The first part of this course traces Marx’s gradual conceptualization of the imaginary throughout his work, from the Critique of German Ideology to Capital, while exploring how the imaginary enabled Marx’s discovery of three further crucial concepts: structure, the unconscious, and the symptom. All these concepts became instrumental in the development of psychoanalysis and other new fields of knowledge, such as cultural analysis and the analysis of ideology. In addition to Marx’s own work, we shall pursue its further development in later influential thinkers and cultural critics, such as Louis Althusser, Étienne Balibar, and Slavoj Žižek (as an example of applied cultural and film analysis). In the second part of the course, we shall address the claim that in the era of neoliberalism Marx’s theory is no longer relevant. While focusing on the specific employment of the imaginary in the logic and central mechanisms of neoliberalism, we shall also examine McKenzie Wark’s claim in her Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse? that today Marx’s theory is obsolete. Offered occasionally. (4 Credits)