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Morteza Samanpour

Research project: Marx's ‘Two Discoveries': The Critical-Social and Political Determinations of the Law of Value in Marx's Critique of Political Economy


My research focuses on the split between the socio-economic and political side of Marx's Critique of Political Economy. While the first of these points to Marx's critical-social theory, and hence Marx's discourse on the value-form (intertwined with concepts like commodity fetishism and autonomization), the second concerns questions of class struggle, exploitation, surplus-value, as well as expropriation and Gewalt. The central claim is that each half of Marx's critique refers to two different conceptions of capitalism, and bringing these two dimensions together remains an indispensable insight for any future critical theory that attempts to grasp the world-historical transformations generated by the dynamics of capitalism. The hypothesis of this thesis is that the imposition of "the law of value" upon society is as much a political as an economic form, suggesting that the process of capitalist accumulation develops neither self-sufficiently (solely in terms of the ‘abstract domination' of capital) nor does it have a purely political and struggle-led character. This research critically re-appropriates the insights on capitalist social forms that the New Reading (Neue Marx-Lektüre) offers, while simultaneously rejecting the one-sidedness of its treatment of social struggles. To formulate the latter, my research in turn critically examines and re-appropriates the Italian tradition of (post-)workerism (Hardt and Negri) which emphasises the ontological primacy of class struggles.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Marx's ‘Two Discoveries': The Critical-Social and Political Determinations of the Law of Value in Marx's Critique of Political Economy
  • Research supervisors:


Oddly enough, I did my BA in Mechanical Engineering. But things went wrong when I was an undergraduate student by the coup of June 2009 Iran's presidential election – the political event that divided my life into ‘before' and ‘after'. It forcefully threw me into the world of philosophy and critical thinking. Independent ‘journalism' as ‘worldly philosophy' and translation, as a social practice common to intellectuals of the global south, were the points of departure at the time. Then I started my Masters in Philosophy and Contemporary Critical Theory at CRMEP, Kingston University in 2014. With the global revival of interest in Marx's Critique of Political Economy and Marxism, I embarked on intensely reading Marx's CoPE and his critical reception in the 20th-century European traditions. This led me to do a PhD. 

Areas of research interest

  • Marx's critique of political economy
  • Modern German philosophy
  • Western Marxism
  • Critical theory of Frankfurt School
  • Value-form theory
  • (Post-)Operaismo
  • (Critique of) post-colonialism


  • BA in Mechanical Engineering (Azad University of Tehran)
  • MA in Philosophy and Contemporary Critical Theory (CRMEP, Kingston University)

Funding or awards received

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