There is a tension at the heart of contemporary post-work politics. Forms of labour that are conventionally associated with men are explicitly resisted, whilst forms of work more commonly associated with women are valorised.
“Masculinized” labour is escaped, whilst “feminized” labour proliferates – all in a fashion that supposedly marks the end of work. A similar tendency can be found within conceptions of the caring economy enshrining reproductive labour as the basis of a more equitable society. Or feminist criticisms of post-work projects that warn against the encroachment of automation into social reproduction.
For all of these emerging leftist perspectives, “women’s work” is not only immutable and culturally necessary – it’s good. As such, it comes to represent the constitutive limit of contemporary post-work politics. This talk will argue that such positions, as they stand, fail to make the alleviation of all forms of drudgery a serious priority. In short, they do not go far enough. Drawing upon post-autonomist Marxism and second-wave materialist feminism, this talk will reject the naturalization of reproductive labour, and seek instead to generate a more robustly feminist post-work politics.
About the speakers
Nick Srnicek is a Lecturer at City, University of London. He is the author of Platform Capitalism (Polity, 2016) and Inventing the Future (Verso, 2015 with Alex Williams). He is currently writing After Work (Verso, with Helen Hester).
Helen Hester is an Associate Professor of Media and Communications at University of West London. Her research interests include technofeminism, sexuality studies, and theories of work. She is the author of Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex (SUNY, 2014), the co-editor of the collections Fat Sex: New Directions in Theory and Activism (Routledge, 2015) and Dea Ex Machina (Merve, 2015), and the series editor for Routledge's Sexualities in Society book series.