Against the Romance of Community by Miranda Joseph

By Miranda Joseph

Neighborhood is nearly consistently invoked as an unequivocal solid, a hallmark of a top quality of lifestyles, being concerned, selflessness, belonging. Into this universal portrayal, opposed to the Romance of group introduces an unusual notice of warning, a penetrating, sorely wanted experience of what, accurately, we're doing once we name upon this perfect. Miranda Joseph explores websites the place the perfect of neighborhood relentlessly recurs, from debates over artwork and tradition within the well known media, to the discourses and practices of nonprofit and nongovernmental agencies, to modern narratives of monetary transformation or "globalization." She exhibits how neighborhood legitimates the social hierarchies of gender, race, country, and sexuality that capitalism implicitly calls for. Joseph argues that social formations, together with neighborhood, are constituted in the course of the performativity of creation. This procedure makes it attainable to appreciate connections among identities and groups that might another way appear to be disconnected: homosexual shoppers within the U.S. and Mexican maquiladora staff; Christian correct "family values" and Asian "crony capitalism." Exposing the complicity of social practices, identities, and groups with capitalism, this really positive critique opens the potential for actual alliances throughout such adjustments. Miranda Joseph is affiliate professor of women's stories on the college of Arizona.

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But far from articulating community as a supplement, this Romantic discourse of community-less modernity renders community and capitalism quite independent of each other. To imagine that a long-lost communality might return to nurture contemporary capitalism requires detaching community from the social, economic, political, and historical conditions that enabled the particular forms of sociality that would seem to be so appealing. And, in fact, the Romantic discourse of community does this precisely by placing community in an idealized past, disconnected from the present as if by epochal break.

Production, as Marx says, is “conditional on reproduction processes outside the reproduction process of the individual capital” (vol. , ), that is, the producer must be able to obtain the necessary materials (raw and otherwise) for his production process. While Marx is here referring to the dependence of one capitalist on other capitalist producers, the dependence of capital on other orders of value is also made obvious, especially, since, for Marx, the important commodity is labor power. For production to be possible, a process of social distribution must assign some but not all, at birth, to wage labor and distribute the members of society among the different kinds of production (Grundrisse, ).

The existent concrete dimension is then positively opposed to it as the “natural” or ontologically human, which presumably stands outside the specificity of capitalist society. Thus, as with Proudhon, for example, concrete labor [or family or local community] is understood as the noncapitalist moment opposed to the abstraction of money. That concrete labor itself incorporates and is materially formed by capitalist social relations is not understood. (“Anti-Semitism and National Socialism,” ) As Postone goes on to argue, in his account of fascist antisemitism, this allows industrial production or, I would argue, individual and familybased entrepreneurship to be celebrated (as it is in the texts discussed in the previous section) as rooted in “Community (Gemeinschaft), Volk, Race,” while finance capital and the bureaucracy of the multinational corporation appear rootless ().

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