Tony Bennett is Emeritus Professor at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University and Honorary Professor in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. Among his many books are
Dead Ends and Nonstarters: Habit, Discipline, Biopower, and the Circulation of Capital
This chapter engages with the issues posed by a range of figures standing in for negative conceptions of the relations between habit and repetition: the factory worker, the slave, the “primitive.” It looks first at the debates between E. P. Thompson and Eugene Genovese regarding how far the disciplinary effects of factory clock time also applied to plantation slavery. In doing so it argues the need to shift the terms of these controversies to capture the different logics informing the relations between habit and repetition across different forms of capital accumulation. The chapter then considers the role of habit in the mechanisms of biopower effected by it differential distribution across the relations between white and black bodies, and between colonizing powers and Indigenous peoples. The analysis of habit in these processes demonstrates the key roles it has played in the circulation of capital across interlinked forms of exploitation.