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Anti-Social Reproduction

November 4, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 6:30 pm

This one-day symposium seeks to develop discussions on the relationships among aesthetics, social reproduction, and critical perspectives informed by value-form theory. Influential approaches to considering aesthetics and social reproduction, such as Frankfurt School or post-operaismo thought, assume that modes of creative and reproductive labor have been subsumed by capital, or tend to conflate social reproduction and cultural production with value-generating activities specific to the capitalist production process. An attention to the value-form of capital, by contrast, points to the limits of production and reproduction as analytical categories, and requires instead that we examine what mediates differing spheres of activity. Not only can value-form theory help us grasp how reproductive and artistic activities sit with regard to capital historically, but it can also be useful for noting what kinds of activity exist outside capitalist production, and, potentially, what is necessary to move against capital itself.

The symposium brings together scholars and artists to address how art and aesthetics can contribute to conversations about value and the reproduction of capitalist society. In particular, we are interested in what aesthetics suggests about “anti-social reproduction,” that is, the kinds of reproductive activity that operate outside, are expelled from, or are themselves hostile to capitalist production. Amid the current interest in what artistic and reproductive labour can reveal about the paths and possibilities needed for life in a post-capitalist society, we also want to think about the prospect of abolishing the categories and social relations on which capital depends.

Some of the questions and topics we hope to consider include:

·      How can thinking value and aesthetic experience together open up new possibilities for understanding value as a form-determining force that shapes and regulates gendered social relations?

·      In what ways can aesthetics help us to consider why gendered and racialised experiences often appear disconnected from the economic relations out of which they emerge?

·      How can value help us to study the similar social relations that underpin activities as various as artistic labor, elder care, and domestic work?

·      What, if anything, can art reveal about the measures we must take to undo the social relations of capital?

·      How can aesthetic modes and techniques—such as form and formlessness, metaphor and abstraction, affect and abjection—give insight into the nebulous, contradictory, even non-conceptual character of anti-social reproduction, as well as value’s form-determining operations within this sphere?


November 4, 2017
10:00 am - 6:30 pm


Shane B.


Common House
Unit E, 5 Pundersons Gardens, Bethnal Green
London, E29QG United Kingdom
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