Subject in Modernity: representation forms and social conscience

Jorge Grespan
  grespan@usp.br
  

Abstract

(THIS PAPER BELONGS TO PANEL "NOTES ON MODERNIZATION , FROM THE PERIPHERY I")
Capital is the “subject” of the processes of valorization, accumulation and progress of productive forces, called “modernization”. But capital is, according to Marx, an “automatic” subject. Social agents who realize the above mentioned processes are, in opposition to capital, conscious of these processes. They are, in the first place, concurrent capitalists; in the second place, through the extension of competition to all spheres of bourgeois sociability, even workers fighting for jobs enter into this category. As far as self-valorization and modernization occur through the social forms developed by capital, they engender representations determining the conscience e conditioning the practice of social agents (despite the fact that practice also occur for reasons beyond conscience – “They do this without being aware of it”). Fetishism is the partial perception of the process; it is the image of competition limited to circulation, which actually, however, puts into effect the exploitation of labor power. Agents don’t have to know everything in order to act, because each one of them believes he is acting only for his own sake; but doing so, they act together for the sake of capital. From these general definitions, my paper will develop some of the main steps of this representation, engendered by capitalist practice in the perception and action of individuals and social groups.
(DR. JORGE GRESPAN (HISTORY DEPARTMENT/ FFLCH, USP, BRAZIL)

representations - conscience - capital - social agents