Marx conceives of labour as form giving activity. This is criticised for presupposing a productivist' model of labour which regards work that creates a material product – craft or industrial work – as the paradigm for all work (Habermas, Benton, Arendt). Many traditional kinds of work do not seem to fit this picture, and new immaterial' forms of labour (computer work, service work, etc.) have developed in postindustrial society which, it is argued, necessitate a fundamental revision of Marx's approach (Hardt and Negri). In this paper I argue that Marx's theory must be understood in the context of Hegel's philosophy. In that light, I show that the view that Marx has a productivist' model of labour is mistaken. I criticise the concept of immaterial' labour, and argue that Marx's ideas continue to provide an illuminating framework for understanding work in modern society.