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Immaterial Labor
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Drawing on the anti-essentialist arguments of feminism and post-structuralism, the critic J.K. Gibson-Graham (a collaboration of two authors) offered a critique of the representation of Capitalism as a monolithic system. For Gibson-Graham, both the right and the left too often promote an image of bourgeois dictatorship that is as creative in conquering all opposition as it is in maintaining an unswerving advance towards oblivion. By challenging the image of an all-powerful Capitalism, Gibson-Graham challenged activists and scholars to recognize the contradictions of Capitalism as cracks in the surface through which we can see alternative forms of social and economic organization, in the present and all around us. The real question, then, is how to bring coherence to those disparate instances? The kinds of questions raised by Gibson-Graham draws heavily on Marxist feminists who argued for a more expansive notion of labor to include reproductive and affective forms of work and subjectivity within Capitalism. Parallel to feminism were the incredibly important ideas that emerged out of the revolutionary movements of the Italian autonomist left in the 1970s. The term Immaterial Labor was introduced by autonomist communists like Maurizio Lazzarato as a way of interrogating both the quantitative and qualitative shifts in Capitalist organization and exploitation of labor. And in the larger anti-capitalist milieu of that moment, the notions of Immaterial Labor saw their direct consequences for both militant organizing and militant inquiry. This reading group will investigate some of the key texts in the development of the idea of Immaterial Labor. The group is open to both cultural workers and organizers interested in teasing out the implications of these ideas both within cultural analysis and practice. The group is convened by Marie Shurkus, visiting professor in Media Studies at Pomona College and Dont Rhine from the art and organizing collective Ultra-red. Both Shurkus and Rhine are permanent faculty with the low-residency MFA program in Visual Art at Vermont College of Fine Arts. The group will meet four times on the fourth Sunday of the month beginning March through June. Readings for each session (approx. 20 to 30 pages for each session) will be provided via The Public School website or links.

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ginadell's picture

my mistake, i didn't realize the class was already scheduled!

ginadell's picture

hi bruinbait, classes are scheduled by the public school committee. we're meeting this sunday to discuss proposals etc, and so we'll get back to you very soon about scheduling info.

Great to see that 14 people have signed up for the Immaterial Labor group. Folks, I'm something of a newby so I'm not sure how to get this on the official calendar. But the first meeting is scheduled for Sunday, 25 March, 2-6pm. If you need a copy of the readings, please email me and I will send it to you: dontr (at) earthlink (dot) net

If anyone has a tip on how to get this into the calendar so that we can have access to the space, please pass along that info. Thanks! D. Rhine

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