Creative Industries, Value Theory and Michael Heinrich’s New Reading of Marx

Frederick H, Pitts

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This article utilises the new reading of Marx found in the work of Michael Heinrich to analyse the creative industries. It considers the role played in the production of value by the labour that takes place in the sphere of circulation. The specific focus is on creative industries such as graphic design, advertising, and branding. It applies Heinrich's conceptualisation of “social validation” to these sectors. This suggests that valorisation depends upon goods and services attaining commodity status by selling for money. Value is subject to this validation. The capitalist use of advertising, graphic design and branding guarantees the possibility of this validation. Using Heinrich, it re-evaluates claims made about the creative industries and cognate fields in three main respects. First, it exposes as inadequate certain Marxist understandings of productive and unproductive labour and the place of circulation activities within this distinction. Second, it refutes autonomist Marxist claims as to the immeasurability of immaterial labour and the redundancy of the law of value. Third, it suggests that creative industries possess a significant role in a capitalist economy blighted by a necessity towards the overproduction of commodities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-222
Number of pages31
JournaltripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2015


  • Marx
  • Marxism
  • value
  • Creative Industries
  • Creative labour
  • Capitalism
  • Cultural industries


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