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Publication - Dr Harry Pitts

    Form-giving fire: creative industries as Marx’s ‘work of combustion’ and the distinction between productive and unproductive labour

    Citation

    Pitts, FH, 2015, ‘Form-giving fire: creative industries as Marx’s ‘work of combustion’ and the distinction between productive and unproductive labour’. in: Reconsidering Value and Labour in the Digital Age. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 246-260

    Abstract

    This chapter considers the role played in the production of value by the labour that takes place in the “sphere of circulation”, with specific focus on creative industries such as design, advertising and branding. Valorization depends upon goods and services attaining commodity status by selling for money. Value is subject to this validation. I contend that the capitalist use of advertising, design and branding is among the most important means by which the possibility of this validation is guaranteed. I argue that these practices, traditionally seen as peripheral to the production of value, may actually be indispensable to it. This claim is based on a rereading of the discussion of productive and unproductive labour found in Marx’s most direct treatment of the question of circulation work – what he at one point calls the “work of combustion” – in Capital Volume 2.

    Full details in the University publications repository