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Keywords:

  • Value;
  • values;
  • capital;
  • personhood;
  • caring;
  • labour

Abstract

We are living in a time when it is frequently assumed that the logic of capital has subsumed every single aspect of our lives, intervening in the organization of our intimate relations as well as the control of our time, including investments in the future (e.g. via debt). The theories that document the incursion of this logic (often through the terms of neoliberalism and/or governmentality) assume that this logic is internalized, works and organizes everything including our subjectivity. These theories performatively reproduce the very conditions they describe, shrinking the domain of values and making it subject to capital's logic. All values are reduced to value. Yet values and value are always dialogic, dependent and co-constituting. In this paper I chart the history by which value eclipses values and how this shrinks our sociological imagination. By outlining the historical processes that institutionalized different organizations of the population through political economy and the social contract, producing ideas of proper personhood premised on propriety, I detail how forms of raced, gendered and classed personhood was formed. The gaps between the proper and improper generate significant contradictions that offer both opportunities to and limits on capitals' lines of flight. It is the lacks, the residues, and the excess that cannot be captured by capital's mechanisms of valuation that will be explored in order to think beyond the logic of capital and show how values will always haunt value.