The Limits of Cognitive Capitalism

Karakilic, Emrah. 2016. The Limits of Cognitive Capitalism. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Cognitive capitalism -or the “third capitalism” succeeding mercantilist capitalism and industrial capitalism- has been developed not long ago in the form of a Marxist research programme. This study, following in the footsteps of operaismo (workerism), undertakes a post-operaist (post-workerist) investigation of the state of socio-economic affairs that has been widely transformed with the rise of a new historical system of accumulation in which the absorption of productive value of virtuosic and biopolitical labour takes an ever-increasing priority. In particular, this work aims to make theoretical and empirical contribution to the research programme of cognitive capitalism through an exploration of the emerging dynamics of the labour-capital relationship and, in parallel, the new form of antagonism traversing the contemporary capitalism, which is characterised by the increasing confrontation between biopolitical production and capitalist biopower. Based on a number of semi-structured interviews conducted with wage-workers, a case study in the field of digital economy, along with the holistic consideration of stylised-facts, the thesis argues for the mutation of capitalist mode of production from vampiric mode to parasitic mode as a form of counter-attack to the growing autonomy of social labour power. In the age of general intellect, it is brought forward, the long-lasting political mediation between living labour and dead labour manifests itself as increasingly untenable in consideration of the new technical composition of labour. By expanding on the social powers of virtuosos, recognised as the collective workers of the general intellect, as the real substance/flesh of socio-economic life, the discussion is furthered that the paradigmatic figures of restructured labour are well equipped with the capabilities, skills, and competencies that are adequate for the organisation of the political project of exodus towards human liberation.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Cognitive Capitalism, Biopolitical Production, Workerism, Post-Workerism, Marxism, Common, Operaismo

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 April 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 May 2016 09:34

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:39


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