SAREETA BIPIN AMRUTE
amrutes at u.washington.edu
Tue Jul 7 18:49:49 UTC 2009
I'm Sareeta Amrute, and I'm new to the list. Trebor added me awhile ago and, having just gotten married and been on honeymoon (I highly recommend Barbados), I'm slowly getting back into the swing of life online...
My own work deals with labor in the context of Indian IT work. I've been trying to think through some of the same issues that Trebor mentioned in his post on exploitation. In particular, I really liked his observation about the duality involved in certain forms of exploitation--that aspects of exploitation can be pleasurable and alienating at the same time. This is of course not a new insight. Indeed, it was partly to unpack the structure of exploitation and deferral undergirding the spaces and places of liberal Europe that Marx undertook his study of political economy and its material entanglements.
I've been thinking of two ways to begin exploring these, and similar, dualities. The first is thinking through control, not of the means of production, but of the means of circulation. Doing this in any systematic way would mean reading Marx's third volume of Capital, which seems a daunting enterprise. I'm thinking here of how important it is to be able to control the way one's body circulates for migrant workers, and also to be able to be able to put things into circulation that 'travel'. This latter seems very crucial to creating value and profit in Internet economies. The second way I am exploring some dualities is by thinking through the micro-processes of time discipline that go into creating labor that appears as something other than labor (as machine produced, virtual, as consumption etc.). How is it, for instance, that the control of time in the service of the production of
value comes to appear as its opposite, as 'free' time? How can/is the management of time in this way resisted or rechanneled towards ends personal or collective?
Sareeta B. Amrute
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Washington
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