Isabell Lorey

Precarization, Autonomy, and Care

Wednesday 18th January, 6-7.30pm
Graham Wallas Room, Old Building (see here for LSE maps and directions) 
Free and open to all

The handling and hierarchization of refugees and the ensuing allocation of rights are about the distinction between labour and care – an entanglement that is constitutive for the development of liberal-capitalist societies in Europe. A basic pillar of these societies is the idea of the autonomous individual and its concept of free labour. In this deeply racialized, gendered, and heterosexualized entanglement, the needs of protection and care are warded off, devalued, domesticated, feminizised. It is a logic, that in spite of its modifications, we continue to face today. When we think of current forms of precarization this has to be the background to understanding the politico-economic crisis we are now experiencing. On a multi-dimensional level, the regime of precarization constitutes the different entanglements of labor, autonomy, and care in capitalism and their function within governmentality. When subjectification has become capitalizable, autonomy turned into an instrument of government, and emancipation is trapped in neoliberal ideas of health, the challenge today is not just to invent new forms of organization and new strategies of resistance. More than that, we have to invent a fundamentally new way of how our living together can be organized and institutionalized. That is, how could a living together look like, based on a commonly shared precariousness, on relationality, and on care rights? It would, imagined this way, be an exodus out of the nation state, out of citizenship as we know it, and out of “immigration” as well.

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