Karl Marx, Anthony Appiah and the Cultural Value of Citation
A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.
In her paper, Aroch Fugellie has focused on the “academic system of referencing or invocation […] as a circuit of value production in the cultural domain” (383), in order to demonstrate “how Third-World symbolic production is undervalued despite its existence, since economic conditions retroactively foreclose the validation of Third-World intellectual and artistic production as cultural capital” (383). To accomplish this, Aroch Fugellie has analysed the citation strategies of Kwame Akroma-Ampim Kusi Anthony Appiah, a British-born Ghanaian-American postcolonial philosopher, theorist and novelist, as these appear in his book-length work bearing the title In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture, initially published by the Oxford University Press in 1997.
In this article, Aroch Fugellie takes recourse to Thomas Kemple’s literary analyses of Karl Marx’s works, such as his citations of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, while pointing out that “Kemple is impressed by how Goethe’s words serve as a “moment of interruption” in Marx’s own thought (31). In that way, Kemple implicitly points to the intervention of the remainder of the other that the quote entails. In his comparative analysis of the scene from [Goethe’s] Faust and the part of [Marx’s] Capital that are brought together in this passage, he concludes that in the quoted episode of the play, as in Marx’s act of quotation, “words substitute for thoughts” (40).” (384). This allows Aroch Fugellie to conceptualise “the potential of citations as qualitatively specific crystallizations of another’s discourse within one’s own” (385). Thus, this author draws attention to “[a] quote’s capacity to trigger the presupposition of a coherent and autonomous articulating principle [that] takes place across the temporal and material deferral of the mediating text” (387).
For Aroch Fugellie, “Appiah exposes the rift between enunciating and enunciated subjects in conflation with specific geo-cultural zones” (387). On the one hand, this scholar suggests that “[c]ritical engagement with a source tends to perpetuate the legitimacy of that source as well as the work of the author who engages with it. That is precisely what capital is: “value which, through its circulation, generates more value” (Žižek, The Parallax View 59)” (390). On the other hand, as Aroch Fugellie concludes, “Marx’s theory of value does not only serve to draw an analogy between capital and the self-reflexive incorporate subject in the sphere of literature but, more importantly, to understand the mechanisms of selection and exclusion that operate in the sphere of cultural capital” (394).
By Pablo Markin
Featured Image Credits: Kwame Anthony Appiah no Fronteiras do Pensamento Porto Alegre 2013, August 12, 2012 | © Courtesy of Fronteiras do Pensamento/Flickr.