Call for Papers Autonomism, Class Composition, and Cultural Studies


2010 Cultural Studies Association Conference – Berkeley, CA – March 18th – 20th, 2010
Coordinators: Stevphen Shukaitis (Autonomedia / University of Essex) & Jack Z. Bratich (Rutgers University)
The publication of Hardt and Negri’s Empire (2000) brought new attention to a previously ignored current of revolutionary theory and practice, namely that of autonomist Marxism, or more broadly, autonomism. While the work of Hardt and Negri have receive quite a deal of attention within cultural studies research and writing since then, this have tended to neglect the vast wealth of engaged theoretical reflection contained within the history of autonomist thought and organizing, reducing it to the work of a few recent works by particular authors. For instance, the concept of class composition, or the ways in which class formations emerge from contestation and the primacy and determining role of social resistance, shares much in common with various strains of thought in cultural studies. Similarly, workers’ inquiry as a method of inquiring into the conditions of working class life to rethinking its ongoing subversive political potentiality, functions in similar ways to how early cultural studies shifted to an analysis of the everyday based on renewing and deepening radical politics.  
Autonomist political analysis involves something very much like a form of cultural studies, exploring how the grounds for radical politics are constantly shifting in response to how capital and the state utilize social insurgencies and movements against themselves. How do cultural studies and autonomism converge and diverge over matters of power, the state, and subjectivity? The panel will explore the future behind our backs, focusing on how autonomist politics and analysis can inform cultural analysis and vice versa. Possible topics for consideration could include:
– Autonomy through and against enclosures
– Class composition and the creative class
– Immaterial labor and cultural production
– Libidinal parasites and desiring production
– Escape and the imperceptible politics of the undercommons
– The multitude and its dark side
– Affective labor and social reproduction
– Work drawing from/on particular autonomist theorists (Tronti, Virno, Fortunati, etc.)
– Precarity and the autonomy of migration
– Post-hegemonic & post-dialectical interventions
– Schizoanalysis & class formation
– Autonomism and the political
Send proposals of 500 words to Stevphen Shukaitis (stevphen@autonomedia.org).
The deadline for submissions is September 7th, 2009.
Stevphen Shukaitis is an editor at Autonomedia and lecturer at the University of Essex. He is the editor (with Erika Biddle and David Graeber) of Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations // Collective Theorization (AK Press, 2007). His research focuses on the emergence of collective imagination in social movements and the changing compositions of cultural and artistic labor. For more on his work and writing, see http://stevphen.mahost.org.
Jack Z. Bratich is assistant professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture (2008) and co-editor of Foucault, Cultural Studies and Governmentality (2003), and has written articles that apply autonomist thought to such topics as audience studies, reality TV, secession, and popular secrecy.

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