Marx on form and content: it's all about structure, it's all about artwork!

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2011
Yıldırım, Barış
This study aims at providing a reading of the first chapter of Karl Marx‘s Capital Volume One titled ‗Commodity‘ in terms of the aesthetic categories form and content. Marx‘s Capital analyzes the form and content of value in commodity mode of production. Throughout his analyzes, Marx provides valuable insights for understanding the relations between the categories form and content. Form and content are also important categories for the domain of aesthetics, and actually Marx‘s use of such categories is inspired from aesthetic. This study first provides a reading of the target text especially focusing on the analysis of the relation between form and content. Then it reviews the use of the same terms in (Marxian and non-Marxian) aesthetic literature. Finally it proposes certain premises for a new understanding of socialist realism based on two main vectors of this study: namely, Marx‘s political-economical and philosophical analyses of the categories form and content, and the aesthetic understanding of the same categories. The proposed premises are 1) historical socialist realists and socialist way of expressing the reality in arts should be distinguished from each other, 2) the congruence between form and content should be seen as only one way of socialist production of art, and 3) forms should be seen neutral insofar as they are a tool of artistic production.