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Harry Pitts Value as Substance, Relation and Struggle Seminar

Birmingham Management Departmental Seminar 18th March at 1.00pm.
Speaker: Dr Harry Pitts, the University of Bristol School of Management
Title: Value as Substance, Relation and Struggle
Abstract: My new book, Value, charts the past, present and future of value within and beyond capitalist society, critically engaging with key concepts from classical and neoclassical political economy. In this talk I will focus on themes from the first, second and fifth chapters of the book.
The first chapter considers theories of value that posit a conserved substance in the commodity itself, typically put there by labour. It blossoms in classical political economy and its focus on the surplus, before reaching its climax in the critique of political economy of Marx, who moved beyond market exchange to confront the classed dynamics of the workplace in determining the production and distribution of value.
The second chapter considers the theories of value that situate value not in any thing or activity but rather in the money-mediated relationship between them, using the so-called ‘new reading’ of Marx to demonstrate how the full development of the latter’s value theory breaks with substantialist account of the production of value, stressing instead the sphere of circulation and the moment of monetary exchange in ascribing value to products of labour.
The fifth chapter revisits aspects of both the ‘substantialist’ and the ‘relational’ Marx introduced in the first and second chapter, using open Marxism and autonomist Marxism to delve deeper and unfold the historical constitution of value in a set of classed social relations based on the separation of individuals from the independent means to reproduce the conditions of living, and how the dual character of labour as concrete and abstract within the production process itself represents the terrain for class struggle over the form and content of work and value in capitalist society.
Speaker: Dr Harry Pitts, the University of Bristol School of Management
Frederick Harry Pitts is a Lecturer in Work, Employment, Organization & Public Policy at University of Bristol School of Management, where he is Theme Champion for Work Futures and leads the Faculty of Social Sciences & Law Research Group for Perspectives on Work. He is co-editor of the Bristol University Press online magazine Futures of Work and author of Critiquing Capitalism Today: New Ways to Read Marx (Palgrave 2017) and Value (Polity 2020).
Email Alex Wood for meeting link

2nd March 2021