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Tumino, Stephen (2008) THE LABOR THEORY OF CULTURE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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THE LABOR THEORY OF CULTUREStephen Tumino, Ph.D.University of Pittsburgh, 2008The Labor Theory of Culture is a rigorous inquiry into the commonsense of contemporary cultural theory and an effort to articulate a materialist cultural theory as an alternative to the commonsense. Cultural theory, I believe, in focusing on the immanence of culture separate from economics, has ultimately separated culture entirely from the labor relations and conflicts in which it is always involved. It has become so focused on the details of culture and cultural difference that it cannot address cultural difference except on its own immanent terms. It has therefore been increasingly unable, I suggest, to account for the new complexities of culture in relation to the emerging global class dynamics of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. I argue that by developing a labor theory of culture based on the texts of classical Marxism it becomes possible to address not only the immanent specifics of culture but culture's relation to its outside, which I think provides for a more comprehensive analysis of culture. I realize that to argue for a labor theory of culture today is to write against the grain of cultural theory. I therefore spend some time closely analyzing some of the central assumptions under girding "culturalism" by reading specific texts of theorists such as Georg Lukacs, Stuart Hall, Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, and Antonio Negri, whose work have transformed the vocabularies and interpretive strategies of contemporary cultural theory. The self-situating of the labor theory of culture is important because almost all contemporary cultural theories regard themselves to be material, if not materialist. The question of what makes materiality in cultural theory is therefore a central question of my project. I for the most part focus on (post)modern North-Atlantic cultural theory and look at the way that the relation of culture to materiality has been deployed in the texts of Immanuel Kant, Roger Scruton, Tom Cohen, Fredric Jameson and Antonio Negri, as well as provide detailed readings of literature (Kafka), art (Matthew Barney), film (The Butcher Boy), and the "culture wars," to make my argument for a labor theory of culture in the contemporary more concrete. iv


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tumino, Stephensct5@pitt.eduSCT5
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairColes, Nicholascoles@pitt.eduCOLES
Committee MemberSeitz, Jamesseitz@pitt.eduSEITZ
Committee MemberMcLaren,
Committee MemberBoone, Troyboone@pitt.eduBOONE
Date: 3 November 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 17 April 2008
Approval Date: 3 November 2008
Submission Date: 14 April 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Capitalism; Cohen; Critique; Culturalism; Derrida; film; Foucault; Globalization; ideology; Jameson; Kafka; Lenin; Lukacs; Marxism; Materialism; Matthew Barney; melodrama; mimesis; Negri; popular culture; postmodern; production; Zizek
Other ID:, etd-04142008-143721
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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