Arrhythmanalysis and Revolutionary Rupture of Détournement: Lefebvre and the Pedagogical Rhythms of Post-Fordism

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Threading together Henri Lefebvre’s writing on space, architecture, and time, this article demonstrates the central concern of rhythmanalysis to his general project of overcoming capitalist abstraction. Reading Lefebvre’s distinction between linear and cyclical repetitions as rhythmic manifestations of the struggle between exchange-value and use-value, Ford articulates the divergent pedagogies underlying each form of repetition. Lefebvre’s project aimed at reclaiming use-value over exchange-value and cyclical over linear rhythms through the coupling of domination-détournement-appropriation, and the author next shows how post-Fordism is a perverse realization of Lefebvre’s project insofar as capital today profits from closed-developmental and open-unpredictable repetitions because capital has subsumed détournement by tethering it developmentally toward the generation of the new. This is why Lefebvre’s educational theory of rhythmanalysis (and its corresponding conception of listening) is now an insufficient pedagogical response to capitalist abstraction. In response, they build on Jason Wozniak’s reading of Lefebvre against Lefebvre to reclaim arrhythmia as a temporal gap necessary for revolutionary projects, developing a theory of arrhythmanalysis. Ford concludes the article with a coda on the political revisions required to Lefebvre’s project, which focus on a reevaluation of the actually existing spaces produced by socialist societies and serves to emphasize that rupture and arrhythmanalysis should be strategically deployed rather than uncritically celebrated.

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