History and Obstinacy

History & Obstinacy

“This book is an impressive document of the cooperation of two unique authors, each outstanding in his field. It is the manifestation of an improbable constellation of a great writer and filmmaker and an important social philosopher. They combine the production sources of two rare minds who mutually complement one another. Readers will enjoy the illuminating insights and surprising discoveries from revealing assemblages of ideas, arguments and imaginations.” —Jürgen Habermas

If Marx’s opus Capital provided the foundational account of the forces of production in all of their objective, machine formats, what happens when the concepts of political economy are applied not to dead labor, but to its living counterpart, the human subject? The result is Alexander Kluge and Oskar Negt’s History and Obstinacy, a groundbreaking archaeology of the labor power that has been cultivated in the human body over the last two thousand years. Supplementing classical political economy with the insights of fields ranging from psychoanalysis and phenomenology to evolutionary anthropology and systems theory, History and Obstinacy reaches down into the deepest strata of unconscious thought, genetic memory, and cellular life to examine the complex ecology of expropriation and resistance.

First published in German 1981, and never before translated into English, this epochal collaboration between Kluge and Negt has now been edited, expanded, and updated by the authors in response to global developments of the last decade to create an entirely new analysis of "the capitalism within us."

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 544 Seiten
  • Verlag: Zone Books (10. Oktober 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1935408461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935408468

Topics from the book


  • Historical organization of labor capacities
  • The internalization of labor characteristics
  • Maietics: the midwife’s art
  • What does the political economy of labor power mean?
  • The balance economy of labor capacities
  • Antagonistic reality of labor
  • The labor of intelligence
  • War as labor
  • Love politics: the obstinacy of intimacy
  • Commodity fetish
  • The anthropology of capital


“By presenting theory as montage with photos, highlighted text, excursuses, diagrams, and box quotes, History and Obstinacy takes up the legacies of the historical avant-garde, but it does so in an anti-vanguardist mode. As it explores materialist anthropology, the archeology of labor power, histories and stories of defiance and tenacious resistance, it turns its political attention toward the extended past that grounds our evolving present.”
—Andreas Huyssen

Bei Amazon bestellen