Book review: Ceti medi senza futuro? Scritti, appunti sul lavoro e altro, written by Sergio Bologna

Book review: Vita da freelance. I lavoratori della conoscenza e il loro futuro, written by Sergio Bologna and Dario Banfi

Book review: Felici e sfruttati. Capitalismo digitale ed eclissi del lavoro, written by Carlo Formenti

in Historical Materialism
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This paper reviews the recent writing of Sergio Bologna and Carlo Formenti. These authors are proposed as post-workerist dissenters with respect to Hardt and Negri’s conceptualisation of contemporary capitalism. Therefore, while the latter has risen to prominence within Anglo-American academia as the radical (post-workerist) account of the political economy of the knowledge economy, the work of Bologna and Formenti is here presented as providing alternative accounts of contemporary capitalism and its dynamics. In doing so, this work challenges the Anglo-American reception of post-operaismo. However, these analyses are also assessed by showing the many similarities they share with Hardt and Negri’s account (not least with respect to the category of class composition). These similarities are argued to pose immanent limits, impeding this post-workerist dissent’s ability to carry operaismo beyond Hardt and Negri.

Book review: Ceti medi senza futuro? Scritti, appunti sul lavoro e altro, written by Sergio Bologna

Book review: Vita da freelance. I lavoratori della conoscenza e il loro futuro, written by Sergio Bologna and Dario Banfi

Book review: Felici e sfruttati. Capitalismo digitale ed eclissi del lavoro, written by Carlo Formenti

in Historical Materialism

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References

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WrightSteve Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism 2002 London Pluto Press

2

Hardt and Negri 200020042009.

3

Camfield 2007.

4

Toscano 2007; Vercellone 2007a.

5

See for example Dyer-Witheford 19941999; Cleaver 2000.

6

Which according to Tronti 2009p. 7 spans from the birth of the journal Quaderni Rossi in 1961 to the death of the journal Classe Operaia in 1967.

8

Hardt and Negri 2000.

10

See for instance Marazzi 20082011a 2011b; Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010; Roggero 2011.

11

Panzieri 1976a; Tronti 2006.

12

Panzieri 1976b1980; Tronti 1972a 1972b 1973 1979a 1979b.

15

Bologna 2007. Though Turchetto 2008 (p. 288) relying on Palano attributes paternity to Alquati 1962.

18

Bologna 2007pp. 35–6 127–8 159–63; cf. Bologna and Fumagalli 1997.

20

Bologna and Fumagalli 1997.

21

Bologna 1997a.

22

Bologna 1997b.

25

Bologna 2007especially though not exclusively ‘L’undicesima tesi’ pp. 55–107.

26

Bologna and Banfi 2011. Processes which see Bologna and his co-author Banfi also a freelance consultant strongly involved through active militancy in the Associazione Consulenti Terziario Avanzato <www.actainrete.it>.

27

Bologna 2007p. 128.

28

Bologna 2007p. 242.

29

Bologna 2007p. 91.

30

Cuninghame 2000p. 98.

31

Bologna 2007pp. 15–16. Thus Bologna’s account echoes common understandings of precarious employment relations as characteristic of the last four decades. However these have been a ‘pervasive feature of labour markets in developed countries since the first industrial revolution apart from a brief interregnum’ in the thirty years following the Second World War (Quinlan 2012 p. 19).

32

Bologna 2007p. 13.

33

Bologna 2007pp. 15–16.

34

Bologna 2007p. 15.

35

Bologna 2007pp. 30–1.

36

Bologna 2007pp. 166–7.

37

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 24 and in greater detail Chapter 3.

39

Bologna 2007p. 159.

40

Bologna 2007p. 126.

41

Bologna 2007p. 48.

42

Bologna 2007p. 70.

43

Bologna and Fumagalli 1997.

44

Bologna 2007p. 35. Bologna clearly and cautiously states that in doing so he never thought the mass worker and second-generation autonomous work as exhaustive of respectively the entire working class and post-Fordist labour force (p. 35); further he sees the second-generation autonomous worker as ‘a compromise figure’ which ‘will never overturn the system’ (p. 36). Regardless of Bologna’s intentions though these figures have acquired a paradigmatic character of their own within operaismo and post-operaismo as discussed in the fourth section.

45

Bologna 2007pp. 63–4.

46

Bologna 2007p. 65.

47

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 20.

48

Bologna 2007p. 161.

50

Bologna 2007p. 162.

51

Bologna 2007p. 70.

52

Bologna and Banfi 2011pp. 181–4.

53

Bologna 2007p. 92.

55

Bologna 2007p. 108.

57

Bologna 2007p. 111.

60

Bologna 2007p. 101.

61

Bologna 2007p. 127; cf. Bologna 1997b.

62

Bologna 2007p. 95.

64

Bologna 2007pp. 82–91 95.

65

Bologna 2007p. 95.

66

Bologna 2007pp. 105–6.

67

Bologna 2007p. 97.

68

Bologna 2007pp. 96–7.

69

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 12.

70

Bologna and Banfi 2011pp. 10–11.

71

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 11.

72

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 12.

73

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 19.

74

Bologna 2007p. 14.

75

Bologna 2007p. 20.

76

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 19.

77

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 20.

79

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 21.

81

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 26.

82

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 27.

83

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 28.

84

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 26.

85

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 27.

88

Bologna and Banfi 2011pp. 28–9.

89

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 32.

90

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 27.

91

Bologna and Banfi 2011pp. 32–8.

92

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 40.

93

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 21.

94

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 43.

95

Bologna 2007p. 19.

96

Bologna 2007p. 12.

97

Bologna 2007p. 14.

98

Bologna 2007p. 19.

99

Bologna 2007p. 21.

100

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 43.

101

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 227.

103

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 44.

105

Formenti 2011p. ix.

106

Respectively Formenti 200020022008.

107

Formenti 2008p. ix.

108

Formenti 2008pp. ixx.

109

Formenti 2008p. x.

110

Formenti 2011p. xi.

111

Formenti 2008p. xi.

112

Formenti 2011p. xi.

113

Formenti 2011p. ix.

114

Formenti 2011p. 74.

115

Formenti 2011p. 83.

116

Formenti 2011pp. 13–44.

117

Formenti 2011p. 13.

118

Formenti 2011p. 18.

119

Formenti 2011pp. 13–18.

120

Formenti 2011p. 18.

121

Formenti 2011pp. 18–26.

122

Formenti 2011p. 26.

123

Formenti 2011p. 32.

124

Formenti 2011p. 38; cf. Castells 2009.

125

Formenti 2011pp. 47–77.

126

Formenti 2011p. 47.

127

Formenti 2011p. 49.

128

Formenti 2011p. 148. See for example Carr 2010 but also Lucas 2012 for a Marxist critique of this type of contemporary McLuhanite analysis.

129

Formenti 2011p. 58.

130

Formenti 2011p. 60.

131

Formenti 2011pp. 60–7.

132

Formenti 2011pp. 68–74.

133

Formenti 2011p. 64. The concept of ‘lock-in’ of technical standards together with path dependence and network externalities originates in the work of Paul David (1985) (amongst others). These concepts have risen to such prominence in the literature on technology and innovation (in its academic business and popular variants) as to have become common wisdom. Thus the concept can be summoned by Formenti without his providing a reference for it simply absorbed through his engagement with the literature on the politics of the internet. However as argued below the acceptance of this common wisdom is deleterious for Formenti’s own analysis.

134

Formenti 2011p. 73.

135

Formenti 2011p. 70.

136

Formenti 2011p. 74.

137

Formenti 2011p. 145.

138

Formenti 2011p. 83.

139

Formenti 2011pp. 83–4.

140

Formenti 2011p. 84.

142

Formenti 2011p. 85.

143

Formenti 2011p. 87.

145

Formenti 2011p. 88.

146

Formenti 2011pp. 88–90.

147

Formenti 2011p. 90.

148

Formenti 2011pp. 90–1.

149

Formenti 2011p. 91.

150

Formenti 2011p. 90.

151

Formenti 2011p. 91.

152

Formenti 2011p. 92.

153

Formenti 2011p. 90.

154

Formenti 2011p. 92. As should be obvious from the previous section Bologna’s argument and trajectory straddle both the discourses and (some of) the attendant perspectives discussed in this paragraph.

155

Formenti 2011pp. 94–104.

156

Formenti 2011p. 94.

157

Formenti 2011p. 95. Formenti does not indicate whether the term ‘subjectivation’ should be interpreted as a neologism of his own coining or whether it refers to the notion as developed and understood within French poststructuralism. Either way more clarity on this concept and its use would have been useful especially given Formenti’s own professed aim and prospect of ‘ “parenthesising” the thought of Michel Foucault’ (Formenti 2011 p. 147) see below.

158

Formenti 2011p. 95.

163

Formenti 2011p. 96.

165

Formenti 2011pp. 96–7.

166

Formenti 2011p. 97.

168

Formenti 2011p. 98.

169

See for example Virno 2007.

170

Formenti 2011p. 98.

172

Formenti 2011p. 99.

175

Formenti 2011p. 100.

176

Formenti 2011p. 111. See for example Vercellone 2007b.

177

Formenti 2011p. 99.

178

Formenti 2011p. 100.

179

Formenti 2011p. 101.

180

Formenti 2011p. 102.

183

Formenti 2011p. 102.

184

Formenti 2011p. 103.

186

Ibid.; cf. Formenti 2008.

187

Formenti 2011p. 104.

189

Formenti 2011p. 147.

190

Formenti 2011p. 148.

191

Formenti 2011p. 147.

192

Formenti 2011pp. 107–19. Similarly Formenti 2012.

193

Formenti 2011p. 108.

194

Formenti 2011p. 109.

195

Formenti 2011p. 110.

196

Formenti 2011p. 112.

197

Formenti 2011p. 113.

198

Formenti 2011p. 115.

200

Formenti 2011p. 116.

202

Formenti 2011p. 117.

203

Formenti 2011p. 119.

205

Florida 2002.

206

Formenti 2011pp. 120–1.

207

Formenti 2011p. 122.

208

Formenti 2002.

209

Formenti 2011p. 122.

211

Formenti 2011p. 123.

212

Formenti 2011p. 124.

215

Formenti 2011p. 125.

217

Formenti 2011p. 126.

218

Formenti 2011p. 127.

219

Formenti 2011p. 128.

220

Formenti 2011pp. 128–38.

221

Formenti 2011p. 137.

222

Formenti 2011p. 138.

223

Wright 2002.

225

Formenti 2011p. 257.

228

Formenti 2011p. 101.

229

Formenti 2011p. 122.

230

Bologna 2007p. 241.

231

Formenti 2011p. 138.

232

Bologna 2007p. 70.

233

Bologna 2007p. 35.

234

Bologna 2007p. 65.

235

Huws 2003p. 168.

236

Basso 2003.

237

Thompson 2010p. 10.

238

Durand 2007p. 5.

240

Burgio 1999pp. 96–7.

241

Clarke 1990.

242

Bologna 1992p. 19 quoted in De Angelis 1993 p. 172.

243

Marx 1993p. 463.

244

See for example Vercellone 2007a.

245

Quinlan 2012.

246

Hardt and Negri 200020042009; Camfield 2007.

247

Bologna 2007pp. 105–6.

248

Bologna and Banfi 2011p. 32.

249

See Heilbroner 1999.

250

Documented in: Bologna 1997b2007.

251

Bologna 2007p. 242. For Bologna this would be the main reason for having precluded post-operaismo from serious consideration of second-generation autonomous work as a political subject (p. 242); further if the capacity to generate conflict successfully is to be retained as a defining feature of political subjects only the segment of the working class occupied in the logistics sector would qualify today as a ‘last area of manual work able to respond to the classical’ dictates of operaismo as it ‘retains still intact the power of interruption of a productive cycle’ within post-Fordism (p. 90).

252

Formenti 2011pp. 145–6.

253

Formenti 2011p. 146.

254

Tapscott and Williams 2008p. 1.

255

Formenti 2011p. 58.

256

Toffler 1980.

257

See Tapscott and Williams 2008.

259

Fuchs 2009p. 397.

260

See Smythe 1977 and 2001.

261

Caraway 2012p. 695.

262

Lebowitz 2009p. 218.

264

Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010p. 31.

266

Ritzer Dean and Jurgenson 2012p. 383. Similarly: Fuchs 2010b; Rey 2012; Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010.

267

Rey 2012p. 416.

268

Lebowitz 2009p. 219.

269

Lebowitz 2009p. 221.

271

Lebowitz 2009p. 222.

272

Foley 2013p. 260.

273

Foley 2013p. 264.

274

Foley 2013p. 265.

276

Huws 2003p. 152.

277

Huws 2003p. 17.

278

Huws 2003p. 27.

279

Huws 2003p. 54.

280

Huws 2003p. 44.

281

Huws 2003p. 65.

282

Huws 2003p. 67.

283

Fine 2012p. 451.

284

Formenti 2011p. 146.

285

See Formenti 2011pp. 107–19.

286

Formenti 2011p. 101.

287

Georgescu-Roegen 1976; David 1975.

288

David 1985.

289

Formenti 2011p. 138.

291

See Donadio 2012.

292

See Wright 2002.

294

Tronti 2011.

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