Translatability, Translational Labor and Capitalist Subsumption: The Communicative Venues of Capitalism


  • Marco Briziarelli


This essay advances a critique of current capitalism based on the operationalization of Gramsci’s take on translation and translatability and Marx’s notion of subsumption, and argues that translatability reveals subsumptive processes in communicative terms because it describes how the principle of exchange value productively interacts with language and signification, thus shedding light on how communication captures and is captured by contemporary capitalism. The significance of translational labor becomes especially manifest in the context the so-called gig economy, in which translational labor is needed to fill the gaps between the casualization and exploitation tendencies of the gig labor process and the powerful rhetoric of entrepreneurship and flexibility experienced by gig workers.