Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Accounting for CapitalismThe World the Clerk Made$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael Zakim

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226977973

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226545899.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

Self-Making Men

Self-Making Men

Chapter:
(p.85) 3 Self-Making Men
Source:
Accounting for Capitalism
Author(s):

Michael Zakim

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226545899.003.0004

If growing and making things no longer served as the foundation of a stable social order, what was the proper object of man’s prodigious powers of production? The response to this industrial-age predicament was that man himself would become that object, “necessarily an end, not a means,” as William Ellery Channing explained in Self-Culture. This was not the quixotic solution of a handful of arcane transcendentalists, however, as evidenced in the popular embrace of a new cultural hero, a “self-made man,” who literally declared himself to be the ends of his own conscious productive efforts. Because “I” was an organic whole, identical with itself, these self-made men were supposed to be immune to the transmutations of form and constantly renegotiated value that now defined all other forms of property. And yet, rather than offer protection from capitalist revolution, the new, liberal self operated by the same logic which governed the market, removing knowledge from one context and rearranging it in another in order to enhance performance. Paperwork thus proved as relevant to making persons as making profits, which is why individualism and capitalism became the two most prominent neologisms of the age.

Keywords:   self-made man, diary, individualism, mental labor, masculinity, selfhood, self-knowledge, Bartleby, leisure time

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.