A political technology of the body: How labour is organized into a productive force

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Abstract

This paper builds on the debate over the relative merits of Marx and Foucault vis-à-vis critical accounting. It contests the view that their work is antithetical by examining a fundamental point of contact between their analytics: "disciplinary power", the paper argues, works through the techniques of engineering, cost accounting, industrial relations and human resource management to organize labour into a productive power or "force" centred on the standard "abstract labour". This argument places Foucault's concept of power at the heart of Marx's analytic. The logic of power and the law of value, the widening and ascending spirals of disciplinary technologies and capital accumulation, interweave and adulterate each other. Foucault's explanation of the logic of disciplinary power and Marx's explanation of the law of motion of modern society are mutually supporting. Foucault explains the mechanics of this motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-136
Number of pages38
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb. 1998

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