The Double Shift

The Double Shift:Spinoza and Marx on the Politics of Work

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How Marx and Spinoza can explain our perverse attachment to the indignities of work

Even as the rewards of work decline and its demands on us increase, many people double-down on their commitment to wage slavery—working harder, doing overtime, and learning to hustle. To paraphrase Spinoza, why do people fight to be exploited as if it were liberation?

To find the answer, The Double Shift turns to the intersection of Marx and Spinoza and examines contemporary ideologies and the modern phenomena of work—motivational meetings at Apple Stores, the culture of Silicon Valley, as well as film and television, from Office Space to Better Call Saul—to argue for the transformation of our collective imagination and attachment to work.

Reviews

  • Drawing on Marx, Spinoza, and popular film, Jason Read builds an illuminating analysis that not only astutely captures, but also helps to make sense of, our double experience of wage work as a locus of freedom and compulsion, hope and fear, self-actualization and self-impoverishment, love and hate. This book is a must read for students of contemporary capitalism.

    Kathi Weeks, Duke University
  • Jason Read's wonderful book constructs an engaging dialogue between Marx and Spinoza that shines a new light on pressing contemporary issues of politics and work.

    Michael Hardt, Duke University, author of The Subversive Seventies
  • With The Double Shift, Jason Read cuts trenchantly into the knot of entangled alienations that attach us to outdated perceptions of economics, ethics and politics. This impressive synthesis of the reinvention of a Spinozan Marx by current French and Italian theorists joyfully enrolls recent films and TV series into a critical analysis of the "negative solidarity" which fuels the rise of right-wing politics. As late-capitalist societies are eaten away, from the inside, by widely shared but deeply misleading perceptions of work and waged labor, this is indeed a most urgent Read!

    Yves Citton; author of Mediarchy and The Ecology of Attention