Continuity and Change in the Temporal Dynamics of Capitalism
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This chapter develops a political economy of acceleration (see also Glezos 2012) whilst highlighting both structural and cultural aspects of capitalism. It seeks to re-examine the ways in which acceleration is not only a key constituent of capitalism, but also cultural leverage that challenges ‘slower’, differently paced, societal fields. The analysis emphasizes that even if the experience of acceleration is now widespread and widely established as a powerful cultural reference, substantial recognition of the structural underpinnings of capitalism needs to be kept in focus. The chapter’s argument examines in particular three issues: 1) the inner fabric of capitalism, i.e. acceleration as a materially inscribed imperative of capitalist logics of accumulation and competition; 2) the instabilities of capitalism and the associated intensification and extensification of capitalism; and 3) the temporal conflicts between the hegemony of ‘impatient’ fast-moving capital and ‘sluggish’ pace of specific processes underscoring democratic polity. In this connection, it also identifies a particular internal temporal contradiction within the capitalist system. Relatedly, even though outward manifestations of capitalism have gone through tremendous transformation in the last one hundred years or so — notably in accumulation strategies and the organization of the work(place) — the inner nature of capitalism, with the acceleration principle at the centre, has not undergone such a dramatic, cataclysmic and revolutionary change as some influential millennial sociological literature suggests (e.g. Castells 2000a; 2000b; 2004).
KeywordsTemporal Dynamics Capitalist Economy Liberal Democracy Accumulation Strategy Capitalist System
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