Capitalised Education

Capitalised Education

An immanent materialist account of Kate Middleton

Understanding how Kate Middleton can be conceived in the current geopolitical situation


Capitalised Education is not a biography of Kate Middleton, but, rather, understands her wedding on April 29th 2011 as a 'plateau', wherein a complex knot of social, political and economic forces collided. The chapters of the book make up a non-linear history of the royal wedding, a history that is underpinned by the ways in which power has been handled by the British royal family through time.


This is a book about many things, but it is not about Kate Middleton the human being and her path to individual fulfilment. Rather it is about KM the media object and her path to financial and semiotic hegemony. It is not about her individuation but rather about her capitalised education. It is not just about social and economic power, but about psycho-power and bio-power, about the production of desire and subjectivity in a capitalist society, and about the economic and semiotic war to control subjectivity and to reorganize our very drives so as to serve only capital and to desire according to its models. For David Cole our global post-industrial capitalist society is not the society of the spectacle but semiocapitalism, where the economic struggle for control of the market is relayed, intensified, and completed by the semiotic struggle for control of subjectivities. The royal family is not some medieval atavism artificially maintained as spectacle by the media for a world that has left such things far behind. The royal family is a formidable financial and semiotic assemblage of elements from diverse historical epochs, converging on a new iteration of the power to control financial fluxes and to define our desire not just for the consumption of the spectacle of the royal family and of its associated products but also for the sort of capitalised education writ large that KM benefited from and that we can experience at our own level and on our own scale as we live out, or try to live out, our own success story. It is a book about education, that educates us into immanence even while it lays bare the capitalised education that edifies such semi-transcendent models as KM. Kate Middleton media object is neither an instance of purely transcendent royalty (unattainable and so incapable of mobilising our desire), nor an example of purely immanent caring for one's life and one's loved ones (attainable by quite other means than frenetic capitalisable consumption). The book is also a reply to the claim that the age of immanent materialism as exemplified in Deleuze and Guattari's works is dead, and that academic commentary is the best that we can hope for from that direction. Cole does not comment Deleuze and Guattari, he uses them, as he uses Laruelle and Berardi, Agamben and Zizek, Marazzi and Lazzarato, but also William Burroughs and Philip José Farmer, and many other writers and thinkers in the mobilisation of his own immanent education for the task of understanding the KM-effect in all its multi-layered amplitude. This is a very rewarding read, and can only make us more thoughtful about the motivations that guide our lives ~ Terence Blake, Amazon

In his book, Capitalised Education: An Immanent Materialist Account of Kate Middleton, David R. Cole thoughtfully and thoroughly engages in an analysis that extends beyond the modern era to take into account a multiplicity of events and forces, which in their encounters produce social and cultural phenomena. Cole’s work is explicitly political as he engages in applied philosophy to elaborate upon the flows of capitalism and the emergence of Kate Middleton as a media object. The book, in its entirety, both is and is not about Kate Middleton. Through detailed and beautiful storytelling, Cole explores various historical plateaus (e.g., the death of Princess Diana, and monarchies of King George VI, Henry II and Lady Eleanor, the rise of industrialism, attitudes towards and about teaching) and describes the ways in which those plateaus are still at work, in some cases almost one thousand years later, to construct a capitalised education. Elaborating on the notion of capitalised education, Cole describes his project as a consideration of “the ways in which the factors analysed and revealed...come together and produce palpable social and cultural effects through Kate Middleton as media object” (p. 2). In his elaborations, Cole develops an immanent materialist analysis that is informed by the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s notions of assemblage, the rhizome, desire, and the Body without Organs, to name a few, though Cole does not get bogged down in explaining the theory itself. Rather, Cole embodies a Deleuzoguattarian ontology as he seeks to move beyond origins and causation and instead focuses on the at times more unfamiliar, but ever-proliferating intensities that impact the ways in which we emerge with that which we encounter, at times unconsciously. Students of philosophy, history, and education, and researchers who are interested in Deleuzoguattarian-influenced work will find Cole’s work both compelling and thoroughly enjoyable. ~ anonymous, Amazon site

The pomp and ceremony of a royal wedding might seem a strange anachronism in a world of global finance and cyber-capitalism. Yet, as David Cole demonstrates, the two are folded intricately into each other. Through an immanent materialist analysis that brings together key recent and historical moments or ‘plateaus’ in the emergence of capitalism, liberalism, and constitutional monarchy, and culminating in Kate Middleton’s 2011 marriage to Prince William, Cole’s wide ranging and provocative work reveals the complex and subtle ways in which capitalism’s decoding and deterritorialization go hand-in-hand with the continuation of social privileges and hierarchies. Along the way he speaks to the major political movements of the last century (liberalism, communism, fascism, empire, and decolonization), the globalization of media, the 2008 financial crisis, and more. Linking these to both established and emerging theories of radical political action, Cole traces the moments of rupture that might allow another politics to come to the fore. ~ Nathan Widder, Royal Holloway, University of London

Kate Middleton is an international celebrity, as well as a crucial figure in the biological, economic, and cultural reproduction of the British class system. In this book, David R. Cole offers us a multifaceted analysis of Middleton as "media object." Touching on topics as diverse as courtly love in medieval Europe and derivatives markets in contemporary finance, Capitalised Education traces a web of far-flung relationships that fatally lead us back to the absurdities of our collective fascination with the British Royal Family. ~ Steven Shaviro, Wayne State University

Cole has produced a masterful and critical evaluation of how the British Monarchy continues to assert and grow its influence in the 21st century. He significantly contributes to an almost muted discourse which critically explores how this influence is achieved and what is risked and gained in its attainment. The reader can’t but be left with a desire to question whether we should be comfortable with the process and effects this has on our behaviour, development and socialisation. ~ Roberto H. Parada, University of Western Sydney

“Capitalised Education” by David R. Cole is a highly original, fascinating and thought-provoking study on capitalism and its symbolic use of Kate Middleton. Mr. Cole is an Australian academic whose brilliant scholarship draws inspiration from the masters of French post-structuralism, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. This excellent book helps us see through the capitalist media spectacles of our time while encouraging us to speak truth to power. To provide perspective on Kate Middleton as media sensation, Mr. Cole discusses a number of significant ‘plateaus’ from British and world history. These include Diana Spencer’s death on August 31, 1997; King George VI’s speech to the commonwealth on September 3, 1939; the rise of communism and fascism in the early 20th century; the declaration of Queen Victoria as Empress of India in 1877; the Industrial Revolution of 1815-1825; the struggles of Henry II and Lady Eleanor on 1150-1200; and of course, Kate Middleton’s wedding on April 29, 2011. In the spirit of Deleuze and Guattari, Mr. Cole eloquently analyzes the various cultural, political and social forces that have shaped our perceptions of these historic plateaus. In particular, I found Mr. Cole’s discussion of the plateau of King George VI to be enlightening. Drawing upon his own family’s history to flesh out the narrative, Mr. Cole muses about the relationship of monarchy to a fading empire; the ‘tobacco death wish’ of a generation addicted to nicotine and the impending dread of total war; and the state’s institutionalized persecution of conscientious objectors who were opposed to war. The end result is a nuanced and sophisticated analysis of the various meanings we have come to associate with the British royal family. Of course, Kate Middleton can be understood as personifying the ordinary person’s aspirations for upward mobility. More importantly, Mr. Cole connects capitalism with the scripted theatrics of the royals to explain how the working class has been pacified by media projections of corporate power, wealth and privilege. I highly recommend this outstanding book to everyone. ~ Malvin, Amazon

David R. Cole
David R. Cole David R. Cole is a university lecturer at the University of Western Sydney. He is a trained philosopher and educational thinker, concerned t...
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