Dan Swain, author of Alienation: an introduction to Marx’s theory, was interviewed recently by Mark Bergfeld. Dan stresses the relevance of the young Marx’s ideas to understanding how neoliberal capitalism shapes our experiences and consciousness. Dan says:
I think it’s noticeable just how much ‘micro’ control people exert whilst still being largely powerless at a ‘macro’ level. People record down to the minutest detail their food intake, people go to gyms dominated by the need to meet measurable ‘Key Performance Indicators’, and so on.
One thing I’m very interested in is an idea of ‘pathological’ autonomy or control. On this notion, it is precisely because of the lack of control over so many areas of our lives that we attempt to exert such intense control over our own body, often with extremely damaging results. I think you see this most clearly in cases of anorexia nervosa, but it seems to me to take a variety of forms.