Precarious designers and the transformative potential of biopolitical production and the commons

Elzenbaumer, Bianca (2015) Precarious designers and the transformative potential of biopolitical production and the commons. In: The Virtuous Circle - Cumulus Conference - Milan, June 2015. McGraw-Hill Education, Milan, pp. 65-74. ISBN 9788838694059

Abstract

In this paper, I will explore the potential of an autonomist and feminist Marxist approach that aims to transform the precarious working conditions of designers. For this, I am mobilising Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s notion of biopolitical production as one arena in which contemporary political struggles take place by way of the production of the common. I will think through the transformative potential of the common in relation to open design. Confronted with the continual precariousness and (self-) precarisation in this field, I draw heavily on the call for production and inventive resistance made by the Michel Foucault scholar Judith Revel. Finally, I link Revel’s call with the feminist economic geographer J.K. Gibson-Graham’s invite to engage in an ethical praxis of being-in-common, which can foster de-precarising practices that have a transformative potential beyond the field of design.

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