On Materiality and Social Form: A Political Critique of Rubin’s Value-Form Theory

Publicado en: Historical Materialism 08/2007; 15(3):9-43.
This paper critically examines I.I. Rubin’s Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value and argues that two different approaches to value theory can be found in that book: a more ‘production-centred’ value-form theory uneasily co-exists with a ‘circulationist’ perspective. This unresolved tension, the authors claim, reflects a more general theoretical shortcoming in Rubin’s work, namely, a problematic conceptualisation of the inner connection between materiality and social form that eventually leads to a formalist perspective on the value-form. Furthermore, the paper argues that all those antinomies are an expression of the historical and political context underlying Rubin’s work, in which Marxism was being codified as state ideology. The political implications of Rubin’s formalism are explored through the critical examination of its consequences for the comprehension of the social determinations of the revolutionary subjectivity of the working class.


Guido Starosta

Director de la línea de investigación Método dialéctico y categorías fundamentales en la crítica de la economía política - implicancias para la investigación de la dinámica concreta de la acumulación de capital. Doctor en Sociología (Universidad de Warwick), Master en Pensamiento Político y Social (Universidad de Warwick) y Licenciado en Economía (FCE - UBA). Docente investigador de la UNQ e investigador de carrera de CONICET con lugar de trabajo en la UNQ.