The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries

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Kathi Weeks talks about how critiques of work need to include “the whole work day” and not just waged work. This is related to the gendered nature of work. Summarize her argument.

In her book “The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries” Kathi Weeks (2011) argues that today we work too hard and that work is quite important that is a requirement to survive. Work has become a privatized system and ultimately is a way of life (p.3). She also claims that the idea that a subject must work to become a worker it is more related to discipline than it is to economic. Humans become social and political subjects within work. Thus, work has become a key site of becoming classed (p.8). Gender identities are also created and reinforced through work.
Weeks (2011) proposes to challenge not only the economic and political organization of work but to confront its normativity and moralization. She examines the dominant idea of the “ethic of work”, which implies work is essential to individual growth, self-fulfillment and keeps status and social recognition within society (p.11). Hence, in a struggle against work issues the central claim should be to refuse to work instead of struggle to get better wages.
Weeks takes the concept of the refusal of work from the autonomous Marxist tradition developed in Italy during the 1960s and 1970s. According to her this concept allows to analyze the value and meaning of work (p.13). Work is a problem because it dominates our lives and benefits capitalism. Therefore, in order to undermine the problems related to work, we must stop working.
Weeks criticizes second wave feminists of the 1970s. She argues that Marxist feminism “has tended to focus more on the critique...

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...oment where we feel the most united and connected to our loved ones but at the same time we are far from them. Nonetheless, I believe this is a new form of organization with its advantages and disadvantages, but we decide if we assume it completely, assume only the best part of it, or if we resisted to it. Moreover, in our very busy lives we can recognize those others that suffer from the same system of oppression by social media and create new ways for resistance. Hence, social media by keeping everyone attentive can become our best instrument to generate critical thinking, discuss political action and start a revolution.

Works Cited

Hardt, M. & Negri, A. (2012). Declaration. New York, NY: Argo Navis Author Service.
Weeks, K. (2011). The Problem with work: Feminism, marxism, antiwork politics and postwork imaginaries. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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