Productive Body, The

Productive Body, The

What can a body do under capitalism? Ground-breaking explanation that links Marx to Foucault.


The Productive Body asks how the human body and its labor have been expropriated and re-engineered through successive stages of capitalism; and how capitalism’s transformation of the body is related to the rise of scientific psychology and social science disciplines complicit with modern regimes of control. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault cited Guéry and Deleule in order to link Marx’s diagnosis of capitalism with his own critique of power/knowledge. The Productive Body brings together Marxism and theories of the body-machine for the goal of political revolution.


If Thomas Piketty now alerts us to the deleterious consequences of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, perhaps it might also be useful to remember that, as Guéry and Deleule affirm: "capitalism is the sophisticated and materialized form of the hatred of Man and of his body." --Ed Cohen, The Los Angeles Review of Books ~ Ed Cohen, The Los Angeles Review of Books

This edition is intended to create a bridge between the later Foucauldian analysis of the relations between power and the body with more canonical Marxist discourse in the Anglo sphere to offset the artificial break between the two philosophers created, involuntary, by Foucault's critique of, and subsequent distancing from, the French Communist party, as well as a general carelessness towards his most left-wing activist writing. ~ Francesco Tenaglia, Kaleidoscope

How exactly should we understand this famous productivity that is attributed to labor power [la force du travail], and how should we describe, or rather re-describe it? This is the theme that Didier Deleule and François Guéry took up in their succinct work on The Productive Body. ~ Pierre Macherey, “Power: From Politics to the Economy [Le Pouvoir, de la Politique à l’Economie]”

François Guéry, in his commentary [in The Productive Body] on the fourth section of Book 1 of Capital shows that the humanist protests, such as those of Friedman or Marcuse, against part time work rest on an error in the localization of the scission of the body. ~ Jean-François Lyotard, “The Desire Named Marx” in Libidinal Economy

Very interesting analysis... The technological mutations of the apparatus of production, the division of labour and the elaboration of the disciplinary techniques sustained an ensemble of very close relations (cf. Marx, Capital,  vol. i, chapter XIII and the very interesting analysis in Guerry and Deleule). Each makes the other possible and necessary; each provides a model for the other. ~ Michel Foucault

Stephen Shapiro
Stephen Shapiro Stephen Shapiro is Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.
Philip Barnard
Philip Barnard Philip Barnard is Professor of English at the University of Kansas. He works on the culture politics of the Revolutionary Age and U.S. Early...
François Guéry
François Guéry François Guéry is Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Université Jean Moulin, Lyon.
Didier Deleule
Didier Deleule Didier Deleule is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense and President of the Société Fra...
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