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Race and knowledge in contemporary capitalism.

1. Introduction

How does labor change in contemporary capitalism? Which new coordinates for labor organization do emerge? Against the background of the profound transformations occurred to global capitalism in the last decades on the Twentieth century, we witnessed the progressive development of new laboring figures, especially women and migrants. In the first case, this is the outcome of decades of struggle inside and outside the families of Western capitalism; in the second, the reference is to the anti-colonial struggles, to the processes of de-colonization, and to ever-increasing labor mobility which has accompanied globalization. As a consequence, a new overarching capitalist re-organization has taken place, one such that--with different intensities and modulations--the specific differences embodied in these new figures become value-drivers. Thus, gender and race--conceived of as social constructions and certainly not as biological differences--are today devices of labor management and organization, terrains for the creation of social hierarchies and for the segmentation and de-structuration of the workforce. In this sense we talk about genderization and racialization.

How do genderization and in particular (for what concerns this paper) racialization work in the context of the hypothesis of cognitive capitalism, where knowledge is turned into the crucial element of capitalist production? To answer to this question--as well as to the previous ones--the essay will propose (par. 2) an introductory discussion of the transformations to which the forms of labor and production are going through. Moreover, the processes of racialization of cognitive labor will be taken into account. Subsequently (par. 3) race and knowledge are assumed as specific--if different--devices of contemporary capitalist valorization, as tools of organization and regulation of the labor market. As a paradigmatic example of such transformations, the vicissitudes of a young Dominican nurse in the Italian job market unmask the processes of differential (or subordinated) inclusion as well as functional specialization which are typical of racialized labor (par. 4). Here the racialized gender is articulated with knowledge as simultaneously agent of inclusion --although subordinated--and terrain of marginalization and discrimination. Thus knowledge, just as race, is turned into a machine of segmentation and subordination in cognitive capitalism. From this perspective, the concept of cognitization of labor is introduced (par. 5). When knowledge ceases to describe talent, skills, and abilities--which is to say the contents of labor and becomes instead the measure of exploitation and the productive agent of new hierarchies. In the conclusions the essay highlights the necessity to emphasize the inevitable articulation of race and knowledge within contemporary capitalistic production as a possibility to comprehensively understand the transformations of labor and production, in such a way that the concept of international division of labor will need to be rethought.

2. A New Image of Labor

In the global economic crisis, the image of labor we were used to ends up assuming new co-ordinates. Both the idea of so-called immaterial labor prerogative of a white middle-class, predominantly male and well-paid--and the idea of so-called material labor--low wage and low skill, prerogative of the racialized work force--have ceased to be dominant images, although along the color line persist heavy hierarchies and forms of discrimination. Precariousness, by now a structural feature of contemporary capitalism, hits transversally the different figures of living labor. University researchers, musicians, art critics, IT workers, but also financial brokers and real estate agents have assumed precariousness as a fundamental character of their life and labor experiences (1). They learnt how to reconcile specifically intellectual labor with other forms of subordinated labor, especially in sectors such as services and maintenance.

Even the student, paradigmatic figure of intellectual production, traditionally situated in the "not-yet" of productive labor--a soon-to-be worker, it was said--is nowadays a worker tout court. She is already a worker--as Marc Bousquet (2008) argued--who conciliate academic education with shifts at the call-center or at a restaurant. Thus, she is not an intellectual laborer to come, but rather an actual and immediate worker, deskilled and underpaid (2). Moreover, it is certainly true that in the past--at least with regard to the United States--those students who had to work in order to pay for their education were mostly African American and Latinos (3), which is to say racialized subjects. However, it is worth underlining that today's crisis massively affects white American students too, and this shows that processes of declassement and precarization of the new laboring figures are transversal with regard to race. Analogously, many migrant and racialized workers, or the so-called "second generations" in Italy, combine repetitive and often exhausting working shifts in productive sectors marked by a high rate of exploitation to their engagement with post-secondary education. All this represents a further indicator of processes of precarization and deskilling pertaining intellectual production. Furthermore, other forms of labor, most notably affective and caring labor, are affected by similar transformations. Such mutations pose the cognitive dimension of care (relationality, linguistic skills, affection) in a close relationship with processes of racialization of labor. Once relegated in the domestic context and outside the productive sphere, affective and caring labor is today fully internalized within the wage labor market, and thus produces new hierarchies which internal to gender and often built upon the terrain of race (4).

Given these tranformations we can advance the hypothesis that the cognitive dimension of labor--the constant recourse to relational and affective capabilities, to language and knowledge in its general sense--currently affects the composition of labor as a whole and creates devices of hierarchization with regard to race. Conversely, racialized labor, in particular migrant labour, has ceased to be fully confined to the lower levels of productive hierarchies, in so-called material labor. The experience of Indian electrical engineers in the Silicon Valley is just the most famous of numerous examples we might report. As a consequence, the transformations of contemporary living labor simultaneously show unitary processes and the existence of differences--often significant--which traverse the social composition of labor. A racialized migrant is not comparable with a white cognitive worker facing processes of deskilling and declassement. Analogously, a financial broker--as precarious as she may be--cannot be compared with a precarious researcher in Italian universities; in turn, all these figures cannot be made equal to logistic or commodity sorting workers, be them migrant or not, just as they cannot be compared to female workers in the caring sector, be them migrant or not.

The different position occupied by each figure within the relations of production--and within the ever-topical colonized/colonizer dialectic--clearly describes a hierarchized, heterogeneous and dissonant system of perspectives, expectations and life as well as work opportunities. What remains constant is precariousness as a primary datum, the endless deskilling of working performances and education degrees (which, in the case of migrant workers, lose relevance and effectiveness in the process of crossing national borders) that are linked to the increasing pauperization of contemporary living labor.

In this context labor and exploitation co-ordinates are redefined while processes of labor racialization and genderization become central elements of production (Curcio, 2010)--a proof of this, amongst others, is the constant demand for migrant labor which in Italy, for example, has lead to the act of indeminity for care-givers in 2009--and, as such, can be conceived of as key-tools to interpret production and labor transformations. More generally, it can be affirmed that migrant racialized (and often genderized) labor, as well as the dynamics which traverse such processes, become a paradigmatic dimension of productive changes: a mirror of labor sans phrase that reflects transformations which affect everyone.

By assuming the centrality of race within contemporary capitalist valorization and its tight intertwining with knowledge, we intend to emphasize the processes of labor racialization and cognitization which shape contemporary labor markets. This means bringing to the foreground the processes of hierarchization which affect productive and social relations in the present, opening up the possibility for a new direction in the reading of labor and production changes. In other words, the articulation of race and knowledge assumes a crucial role to manage and organize productive transformations, to articulate dispositifs of segmentation and hierarchization which are internal to the composition of labor. From this perspective, racialization is linked discourses and practices--be them institutional or otherwise--which are oriented to the construction of economic as well a cultural processes of essentialization and discrimination (Curcio and Mellino, 2010). As explicitly remarked by Frantz Fanon, such dynamics aims at the subordination of a social group by another social group. Correspondingly, labor cognitization recalls the centrality assumed by knowledge, and more comprehensively by cognitive processes, as measure of exploitation, of division of labor, and of hierarchy-building from the standpoints of class and wage regulation. Thus, a new image of labor should be traced starting from an analytical grid centred around the articulation of race and knowledge in contemporary capitalism. Such a grid, in fact, allows to grasp at the same time the transformations of production and the emerging forms of labor organization.

3. Race at Work in the Knowledge Market

Productive transformations and the so-called shift from Fordism to Post-Fordism are marked by two parallel processes. On the one hand, the most intimate human capabilities--which is to say knowledge, the practical experience learnt in the course of life--are put to work. On the other hand, the valorization of race as the outcome of processes of globalization and mass migration, and even before of processes of decolonization and anti-colonial resistance which have opened a still wide flow of labor between former colonies and mother countries (in Europe this is surely the case in France and England, whereas more recent and intimately linked to globalization is the ever-increasing issue of migration in Italy (5)). Today race and knowledge, although from different paradigms, works together in the process of capitalist valorization: grasping their nexus or, in other words, investigating their intimate "articulation" (6) means take a step further in understanding contemporary capitalism and its functioning.

With specific regard to knowledge, starting from the last decades of the XX century a wide literature has emphasized the putting to work of relational capabilities, of affection and language to advance the hypothesis of cognitive capitalism to highlight a paradigm shift in the productive model (7). From this perspective a new system of production emerges: whereas the fundamental variables of the capitalist system persist (profit, wage, extraction of surplus value), a new structure of labor appears, along with new sources of valorization and property linked to knowledge production (Vercellone, 2006). Similarly, the concept of "feminization of labor" (Morini, 2010) arises to underline the inclusion within productive circuits of those subjective attitudes historically and normitavely attributed to women. Affection and relational capacities, sure, but also flexibility, multitasking and the gratuitous character which has always characterize feminine labor are today paradigmatic of production as a whole. Consider for example the huge business constituted by stages and internships performed by graduate and undergraduate students, or flexibility as a capacity to ceaselessly enter into and exit from different tasks (a capacity which radically marks the life and labor experience of precarious workers). Furthermore, think of care--a dimension that cannot be set aside to understand contemporary working conditions--which is required in sectors as diverse as services and call-centres. Again, consider the huge amount of knowledge required today on the job market, especially that capability to manage very different skills which has traditionally been associated with women--rudiments of physics and medicine (to assist sick persons), of mathematics and economics (to organize expenses), of cutting and sewing.

In this framework race--which has long functioned as a managing tool for labor organization and has played the role of crucial element of capitalist accumulation processes in the overseas British colonies between the XVII and the XVIII centuries--assumes a new centrality within the new productive paradigm. As a wide literature has emphasized, the whole history of capitalism has been marked by processes of stigmatization, subordination, and exploitation of racialized labour, (8) a veritable race management which has constantly reshaped the forms of marginalization and exploitation in the course of capitalistic transitions (Roediger, 2008). The novelty we face today is that both subordination and exploitation of racialized labor occur through processes of differential or selective inclusion of labor; in addition, such processes intersect the increasing centrality of knowledge in the dominant productive model. In other words, it is a process of differentiation and segmentation of labor on a racial basis which has ceased to exclude but not to subordinate; it delineates new terrains for valorization and new configurations of relations of production as well as working hierarchies.

From this point of view, wage caring labor, largely nourished by the entry of women in the job market and nowadays, at least in Italy, mostly composed by migrant women, presents itself as a privileged observation angle to investigate the articulation of race and knowledge in contemporary capitalism, and to read the modulation of relations of production and power in the new productive paradigm. Otherwise put, race and knowledge have fully become elements of capitalist valorization through hierarchization, organization and regulation of the labor market. Thus, affective and caring labor is here assumed as a productive sector whose content is immediately cognitive and traditionally deskilled. This does not mean, however, that it is external to the putting to work of knowledge: from emotions to communicative capacities, from relational attitudes to empathy.

4. Inside the Labor Market, Outside the Sphere of Rights: The Story of Altagracia

In Italy--where the externalization of care and the inclusion of women in the labor market are actually underrepresented with regard to other European and non-European countries (9)--migrant women know a "privileged" access to the caring labor market. This datum is still true, notwithstanding the fact that the global economic crisis is redirecting to such a sector many Italian women expelled from the job market (Polchi, 2011). Differently from Italian women, migrant women are younger, more educated, and--under threats such as illegalization and deportation (De Genova, 2005, 2010)--they are more likely to conform to employers' expectations (Akalin, 2007). The Italian legal system tightly links residence permits to employment contracts and, as a consequence, losing a job means losing the right to live in the country. Such a condition of vulnerability makes the entirety of migrant workers especially exposed to blackmailing.

However, the migrant workers' access to the labor market is also marked by a process of racialization which promotes practices and discourses whose outcome is a hierarchized representation of differences--simultaneously physical and cultural, real and imagined, but always oriented towards the production of social marginalization and productive subordination. A widespread public opinion in Italy individuates in Ukrainian women solicitous caregivers, whereas both women and men from the Philippines are scrupulous housekeepers. Differently, Polish and Nigerian women are believed to be mostly sex-workers. In this framework, each of these women tend to be preferred for a given working sector. Thus, race--a social construction and surely not as a biological attribute--determines a system of opportunities, expectations and lifestyles which discipline both social and working relationship. Simultaneously, it implies mechanisms of discrimination and of exclusion from the sphere of rights.

The story of a young Dominican woman can be from this perspective particularly explanatory. Altagracia was recruited in Santo Domingo, her hometown, by an Italian company specialized in the selection of nursing staff to work in a private hospital in La Spezia (10). In Italy, in the context of processes of racialization and organization of migrant labor, workers from the Caribbean are considered to be a highly specialized workforce. Moreover, as a woman, Altagracia seems particularly fitting for caring labor and especially for filling one of the many vacant positions in the nursing sector (11). So far, just an ordinary story of inclusion of migrant labor into the Italian job market. But Altagracia's story has a peculiarity: while waiting for a residence permit which would have regularized her presence in Italy, she realizes her practice has been blocked. The company of nursing selection discovers she is pregnant and decides that the welfare surplus required by maternity cannot be guaranteed to a migrant worker. As a consequence, her authorization is revoked and she loses her job as well as the right to stay in the country.

Altagracia's story presents itself as paradigmatic of the racialized gender functioning in the job market within contemporary production. In fact, not only it unmasks the construction of hierarchies and processes of marginalization along the color line and the mechanisms of functional specialization linked to gender; above all, it shows race (and gender) as simultaneously agent of inclusion (which situates racialized gender on the job market, although in a subordinated position) and terrain of marginalization and discrimination (as demonstrated by the exclusion from welfare protections). In particular, Altagracia's vicissitudes describe the articulation of race and knowledge which we have individuated as central for the analysis of contemporary capitalism. In fact, it is knowledge which grants to Altagracia her access to the Italian job market: the "specialistic" knowledge of nursing science on the one hand, and the normative knowledge linked to her being a woman on the other. As a racialized worker, however, Altagracia does not have a full and unconditional access to the job market. To the contrary, her working experience is characterized by subordination and lack of rights--as it is common for migrant women in the italian job market and in particular in the sector of cheap caring labor. From this standpoint, the intrinsic articulation of race and knowledge in contemporary capitalist valorization could not be clearer. This articulation brings to the foreground the processes of racialization and cognitization which nowadays establish the job market. Moreover, it highlights the old as well as new lines of rupture and the hierarchies which traverse the labor composition (consider, as an example amongst many, those hierarchies internal to gender which take place by means of salarization and racialization of affective as well as caring labor).

5. Talent, Ability, Knowledge

Thus, the new organization of labour shows us an unmistakable matter of fact. Once become a central element of capitalist production and accumulation, knowledge is turned into a machine of segmentation and subordination. Nowadays, knowledge constitutes along with race the terrain upon which forms of labor and exploitation take place. However, I would like to specify that the cognitive dimension to which I make reference is not the outcome of a linear process which goes from manual and physical labor (in the Fordist period) to immaterial and intellectual labor (in the post-Fordist period). I do not mean to argue that exploitation belongs more to manual labor than to cognitive labor. To the contrary, intellectual and physical dimensions of labor are today continuously overlapping within the working performance, and become--in various ways and different degrees--an indispensable element of labor-power. Thus, what changes are the forms of domination by and subordination to capital.

Knowledge is not immediately an agent of freedom; it is not the compass to be followed in order to reach emancipation from capitalist blackmailing. Rather, the opposite is true. Today, knowledge is no longer the driver of upward social mobility. Universities--namely the traditional institution of knowledge production and diffusion--have become parking lots for an immediately precarious youth which cannot find a proper position in the job market. This is well-known to young Tunisians, Egyptians, and Libyans who have recently led the revolutions in North Africa. Similarly, students and precarious workers who cyclically take the European streets to oppose the systematic devaluation of universities and the increasing precarization of labor. If some analysts--amongst the many who have investigated the new productive paradigm of knowledge--could fall under the illusion that knowledge might oppose capitalist exploitation, every doubt is currently erased. In the context of the global economic crisis, knowledge is configured as the measure of exploitation, as the instrument of segmentation, as the productive agent of new hierarchies. From this perspective, it functions exactly as race. It sets in motion processes of subordination and wage regulation--processes which can be defined as cognitization of labor, where cognitization should not be confused with the dialectic of material and intellectual labor (De Nicola, Roggero and Vecchi 2007). Moreover, again like racialization, knowledge represents the creation of discrimination and hierarchization. Thus, cognitization of labor wholly redesigns both class composition and the hierarchies of capitalist valorization.

There is more to it. In fact, knowledge is today the mirror of the job market blackmailing. As such, it has ceased to describe the contents of labor. Knowledge, talent, skills and abilities mobilized by workers within production correspond less and less to the model of the productive organization. In other words, it is not to be taken for granted that a high-skill worker--whose productivity relies on specific knowledge and sophisticated abilities--finds herself in the highest layers of working hierarchies. Similarly, her status, rights, and retribution are not necessarily in line with her background's standard. In Italy, precarious workers in the realm of academic research perfectly symbolize the processes of devaluation, deskilling and declassement which affect cognitive labor. University degrees, scientific collaborations and years of teaching and research experience do not translate into stable working positions or career advancements (with economic improvements). Rather, they accompany precarious forms of life, revenue discontinuities, scarce social protections and welfare guarantees (Roggero 2011). Analogously, it is not certain that a so-called low-skill worker performing manual activities and badly paid is poorly educated or devoid of knowledge and competence. To the contrary, what should be assumed is the centrality of knowledge in contemporary production and the capacity of a diffuse intellectuality to possess a vast as well as specific knowledge. This is surely the case of those workers--especially women, and in Italy especially migrant women like Altagracia--who are employed in the care sector. They put to work a large and diversified range of knowledges in which material aspects of labor are intertwined with cognitive performances and the production of affection (Del Re 2008). Moreover, to maintain a reference to the Italian context, this is also the case of logistic workers (involved in differentiated processes of circulation of commodities). These workers are mostly migrant, subjected to profound processes of racialization, and exposed to exhausting shifts and working rhythms; besides, they are often blackmailed and even physically threatened. Many of them hold a university degree issued by the country they come from or are enroled at a Italian university. Even more importantly, however, they possess a specific and fundamental knowledge concerning the functioning of the productive/distributive cycle, as well as the mechanisms of the just in time capitalism. Such specific knowledge has allowed them to build successful struggles aimed at the improvement of their working conditions. Otherwise put, the co-operative production of knowledge amongst logistical workers is the device through which the capitalist command on has been interrupted in their recent struggles. As such, it is a weapon to claim better working conditions and higher wages (Curcio and Roggero 2013 a, 2013b).

These example show how difficult is today to recognize the characters of valued labor as opposed to those pertaining devalued labor, or to distinguish between high-skill and low-skill workers. Skill itself, a long-standing criterion of selection and distinction of labor, is now meaningless. In fact, it does not correspond so much to the working activity actually performed or to the abilities employed; rather, it configures the blackmailing imposed by the job market. In other words, it functions as the device which concentrates and divides and, as such, it establishes hierarchies and wage inequalities. Once the criterion of analytical validity is lost, the skill acquires its cogency as a device of control and hierarchization (Roggero 2011). This element is a common feature of contemporary living labor, although migrant racialized workers--aubjected as they are to the primacy of whiteness and to still operating colonial apparatuses of domination and subordination--are more exposed to it.

Let us briefly come back to Altagracia's example: it is not the scientific qualification as nurse which grants her the access to the Italian job market. Rather, it is her being a racialized subject (as well as gendered, but this opens up a new analytical field which I choose not to investigate here) (12). Her "professional" knowledge, and the specific competencies acquired in her nursing education, become the direct measurement of her exploitation, a tool for the confinement of knowledge and the general intellect. In other words, it is a filter which differentially regulates the access to the job market and, by doing so, establishes hierarchies and enacts disparities.

6. To Conclude: Why Should We Insist on the Articulation of Race and Knowledge?

What this reflection has emphasized so far is that productive transformations, along with the new role of race and knowledge in the hierarchized construction of the job market, have shattered the analytical categories through which we have traditionally interpreted labor. It is clear that today new forms, modalities and contents of labor are getting assembled. New hierarchies take shape while knowledge becomes the crucial regulation device which connects forms of subordination and exploitation that emerge from a colonial past. It is a new image of labor from which new productive figures emerge. All of these figures--from so-called knowledge workers (researchers, artists, IT employees) to caregivers and to the different articulations of so-called "material" labor--individuate the fulcrum of their activity in knowledge, fundamental means of production within the new co-ordinates of capitalist production.

Such transformations have made co-existent "advanced", or high-skill and autonomous forms of labor with their "backward", low-skill and semi-slavish counterparts. This pervasive heterogeneity pushes us to rethink the organization of contemporary labor. The unrestrainable mobility of labor has also shaken the traditional image of a "developed" First World as opposed to an "underdeveloped" Third World. Similarly, the concept of international division of labor has been put to question. In so far as knowledge becomes a diffused means of production which cuts working hierarchies, it is basically impossible to differentiate the conditions of labor power on the basis of its geographical position or national belonging. The widespread idea of a "Western post-Fordism" fuelled and sustained by a "peripheral Fordism" is today definitively set aside. Rather, we witness a re-spacialization of labor on different areas. This means the formation of veritable "zoning technologies" (Ong 2006) which reconfigure themselves well beyond national borders. Within these zoning technologies is to be found a wide spectrum of different qualities which pertain to contemporary labor power in a peculiar synchrony of times and modes of production and exploitation. Educated logistical workers, low wage university researchers and nurses without maternity leaves in the Italian National Health System--to stick to the reported examples are exemplary and emblematic cases in point.

Thus, race and knowledge are the unmistakable devices which draw the new borders of labor and exploitation, beyond and through geographical and national frontiers. With the global economic crisis, the processes of devaluation, deskilling and pauperization which transversally affect contemporary labor power have rapidly intensified (as consequences of this we can mention the North Africa insurgency between 2010 and 2011, or the recent, large mobilizations in Greece, Spain and Portugal). It is important to stress that, although the cognitization of labor and the transformation of knowledge in a widespread exploitative device depend on the putting to work of human abilities, skills and competencies, it is nonetheless true that the processes of racialization and the construction of forms of subordination and hierarchies on the terrain of race are a constant feature in the history of capitalism. Simply, such processes find today more precise and specific articulations as devices of a subordinated inclusion within the cognitive job market. In this context, emphasizing the inevitable articulation of race and knowledge within contemporary capitalistic production allows us to sharpen the analytical tools through which productive and labor transformations can be read. In particular, it is important to grasp the co-presence of different forms, modalities and historical temporalities. Such co-presence is a defining character of today's labor and constitutes an analytical field from which new and more specific elements can be extracted. On the contrary, ignoring it means dissimulating power relations and silencing the weight of differences within contemporary labor organization and social relations.


(1.) For an updated review of the existing literature on the relationship between precarity and cognitive labor, see Armano and Murgia (2012). See also Neilson and Rossiter (2008).

(2.) In a brilliant study on the working of American universities, Marc Bousquet (2008) especially investigated the role of students' work in the warehouses linked to the UPS (United Parcel Service) distribution. In the context of the "Earn and Learn" agreement signed with some universities, UPS hires undergraduate students who exchange a sort of "financial aid" (generally ultra-low-coast wage) for "education benefits". This is a veritable system of exploitation of students' labor, often performed in a part-time executed through night shifts. On a different level, Gigi Roggero (2012) investigated the transformations of universities in North America and Europe (with specific regard to Italy) within an analytical framework which links the mutations of the university and the transformations of labor and production. Thus, he depicted a new figure of the student, a figure which "no longer responds to the classic figure of the worker-in-training but immediately becomes a worker, or better, a precarious worker" (ivi, 3). On the same issue, see The Edu-Factory Collective (2009), in particular The Edu-Factory Collective, All Power To Self-Education!, and Vercellone C., Cognitive Capitalism and Models for the Regulation of Wage Relations: Lessons from the Anti-CPE Movement.

(3.) At this regard Marc Bosquet (2008) has also highlighted how UPS was named one of the "best companies for minorities" in connection with the program "Earn and Learn", since it had largely recruted its workforce among Latino students (Ivi, 130).

(4.) On this issue, among others, see Del Re (2012) and Curcio (2012).

(5.) Processes of labor racialization, however, have occurred throughout Italian history since the Unification. In fact, the construction of the first labor market on a national basis was managed through the discrimination and marginalization of Southern workers. Such a practice was newly utilized in the post-WWII economic boom. In fact, the progressive industrialization of the economic system was managed through the racialization of young Southern workers employed in Northern factories.

(6.) On "articolation", see Hall (1980).

(7.) For some important hypothesis concerning the new productive paradigms, see Marazzi (2005, 2008), Vercellone (ed. 2006, 2007), Fumagalli (2007), Morini and Fumagalli (2010), Fumagalli and Lucarelli (2007), Chicchi and Roggero (ed. 2009), Leonardi (2010).

(8.) On this issues, see amongst others: Du Bois (1935), Roediger (1991).

(9.) Italy is the European country where women work the least. Second only to Malta, Italy has an employment rate of women around 47%, to be compared with France (60%), UK (65%) and Germany (66%)--not considering Scandinavian countries (INAIL 2010).

(10.) The full story can be found in Giovanni Maria Bellu (2007).

(11.) According to the estimates put together by the IPASVI (the professional order of this category), there would be between 40,000 and 60,000 vacant positions in the country (source: Federazione nazionale Ipasvi, 2009).

(12.) On the articulation of class and gender in capitalist valorization, see Anna Curcio, Gender and Race Management in Postcolonial Capitalism, in "Social Identities", forthcoming.

* I want to thank Emanuele Leonardi for the careful revision of this text.


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Anna Curcio, PhD in Sociology, is a precarious researcher. Postdoctoral Fellow at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, she taught and researched in Italy an U.S. She works at the intersection of critical Marxism and Cultural and Postcolonial Studies. She published, in Italy and abroad, in the area of social movements, labor struggles and the mode of production transformations, mainly focusing on class, race and gender differences. Among her publications: La paura dei movimenti (2006); The Common and the Forms of The Commune, a Special Issue of "Rethinking Marxism" (eds. 2010 with Ceren Ozselfuk) and Challenging Italian Racism a Special Issue of "Darkmatter Journal" (eds. 2010, with Miguel Mellino). She is part of the Edu-factory Collective and member of the editorial board of the Edu-factory Journal.


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Author:Curcio, Anna
Publication:Knowledge Cultures
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Jul 1, 2013
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