Review: Capitalised Education: An Immanent Materialist Account of Kate Middleton

Capitalised Education: An Immanent Materialist Account of Kate Middleton
Capitalised Education: An Immanent Materialist Account of Kate Middleton by David R Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book about many things, but it is not about Kate Middleton the human being and her path to individual fulfilment. Rather it is about KM the media object and her path to financial and semiotic hegemony. It is not about her individuation but rather about her capitalised education. It is not just about social and economic power, but about psycho-power and bio-power, about the production of desire and subjectivity in a capitalist society, and about the economic and semiotic war to control subjectivity and to reorganize our very drives so as to serve only capital and to desire according to its models. For David Cole our global post-industrial capitalist society is not the society of the spectacle but semiocapitalism, where the economic struggle for control of the market is relayed, intensified, and completed by the semiotic struggle for control of subjectivities. The royal family is not some medieval atavism artificially maintained as spectacle by the media for a world that has left such things far behind. The royal family is a formidable financial and semiotic assemblage of elements from diverse historical epochs, converging on a new iteration of the power to control financial fluxes and to define our desire not just for the consumption of the spectacle of the royal family and of its associated products but also for the sort of capitalised education writ large that KM benefited from and that we can experience at our own level and on our own scale as we live out, or try to live out, our own success story. It is a book about education, that educates us into immanence even while it lays bare the capitalised education that edifies such semi-transcendent models as KM. Kate Middleton media object is neither an instance of purely transcendent royalty (unattainable and so incapable of mobilising our desire), nor an example of purely immanent caring for one’s life and one’s loved ones (attainable by quite other means than frenetic capitalisable consumption). The book is also a reply to the claim that the age of immanent materialism as exemplified in Deleuze and Guattari’s works is dead, and that academic commentary is the best that we can hope for from that direction. Cole does not comment Deleuze and Guattari, he uses them, as he uses Laruelle and Berardi, Agamben and Zizek, Marazzi and Lazzarato, but also William Burroughs and Philip JosĂ© Farmer, and many other writers and thinkers in the mobilisation of his own immanent education for the task of understanding the KM-effect in all its multi-layered amplitude. This is a very rewarding read, and can only make us more thoughtful about the motivations that guide our lives.

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