[SydPhil] [Philosophy at UWS seminar] Dinesh Wadiwel: Like One Who is Bringing his Own Hide to Market: Marx, Derrida and Animal Commodification, April 30 2014

Philosophy@UWS Philosophy at uws.edu.au
Thu Apr 24 17:24:18 AEST 2014

Philosophy @ UWS Seminars 2014
The Writing and Society Research Centre and Philosophy @ UWS present:

Dr Dinesh Wadiwel
School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney

TITLE: Like One Who is Bringing his Own Hide to Market: Marx, Derrida and Animal Commodification

DATE/TIME: Wednesday April 30, 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm

PLACE: University of Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Building 3, Room 3.G.27  [How to get to Bankstown Campus]<http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown>

In an evocative line in Capital, Marx states that the worker under capitalism has "brought his own hide to market and now has nothing else to expect but - a tanning." This is not the first reference to "tanning" in Capital ; indeed in some respects the process of submitting one's own skin for exchange appears for Marx as a persistent metaphor for the commodification of human labour.

But what about animal labour? Can we use the tools that Marx offers to provide an account for the specific exploitation of animals within capitalism and other economic systems? Examining the first chapter of Marx's Capital vol. 1 - "The Commodity" - and Marx's exploration on money in Grundrisse, this paper will explore the imposition of a value equivalence upon the life (and death) of the animal within industrialised animal production. Noting that livestock were some of the first examples of "money" used in exchange, I will argue that commodification of animals does not focus on merely recognizing value in the form of exchange value, but realizes value in a side by side process of fostering species differentiation between human and non human.

Turning to Jacques Derrida's 1971 essay "White Mythology," I will explore Derrida's examination of the metaphor and its connection (or lost connection) to original value. I will argue, in line with Derrida's later concern with the term "animal" itself, that the imposition of value is always a violent form of metaphoricisation that threatens to flatten our multiple difference. As Derrida discusses, the commodity that poses as money is worn down through the process of exchange. In this sense the commodity value of animals as property might be understood as an intertwining process of material and epistemic violence - a literal and metaphoric "skinning" of the animal.

This paper aims to reanimate consideration of a political economy of animals within contemporary industrialised (and post-industrialised) capitalism, with a view to mapping forms of political subjectivity, collectivity and resistance

Dinesh Wadiwel<http://sydney.edu.au/arts/sociology_social_policy/staff/profiles/dinesh.wadiwel.php> is lecturer and Director of the Master of Human Rights, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney. His book, The War Against Animals, is forthcoming with Rodopi Press, and he is currently working on a co-edited collection with Matthew Chrulew entitled Foucault and Animals

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Mariana Fragueiro
Administration Coordinator, Philosophy Research Initiative
University of Western Sydney
Bankstown Campus Building 5
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW  2751
+61 2 9772 6190

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