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Class and Its Others

J. K. Gibson-Graham
Stephen A. Resnick
Richard D. Wolff
Foreword by Amitava Kumar
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Class and Its Others
    Book Description:

    The authors offer new and compelling ways to look at class through examinations of such topics as sex work, the experiences of African American women as domestic laborers, and blue- and white-collar workers. Their work acknowledges that individuals may participate in various class relations at one moment or over time and that class identities are multiple and changing. Taken together, the essays in this book will prompt a rethinking of class and class subjectivity that will expand social theory. Contributors: Enid Arvidson, Jenny Cameron, Harriet Fraad, Janet Hotch, Susan Jahoda, Amitava Kumar, Cecilia Marie Rio, Jacquelyn Southern, Marjolein van der Veen.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9178-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword: In Class
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Amitava Kumar

    I have just finished teaching the first month of an undergraduate course on Marx. The course is one in the “critical thinkers” series that we offer in my department for those students who have opted for the cultural studies track. This is the first time I—or anyone else—has taught this course here. It is impossible for me to introduceClass and Its Otherswithout my thoughts reflecting, in some measure, what we have been involved in reading and discussing in our classroom.

    In my case, the owl of Minerva is swooping into flight even later than usually expected....

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction: Class in a Poststructuralist Frame
    (pp. 1-22)
    J. K. Gibson-Graham, Stephen A. Resnick and Richard D. Wolff

    Class and Its Othersdraws deeply on two sources of energy that commingle in this introduction and in the editors themselves (or in the spaces between them). The first and most profound is an affective commitment to the experience of the laboring body. In this we feel an affinity with the growing number of movements that are centered on or circling around economic exploitation: among these, a revitalizing labor movement, the living wage campaigns being fought in many U.S. communities, the stakeholders’ rights movement in deindustrialized regions, associations of self-employed workers like the National Writers Union, employee buyouts of capitalist...

  6. 1 “This Job Has No End”: African American Domestic Workers and Class Becoming
    (pp. 23-46)
    Cecilia Marie Rio

    Miss Grand-lady turns to me and says, “And what do you do?” . .. Of course I told her! “I do housework,” I said. “Oh,” says she, “you are a housewife.” “Oh, no,” says I, “I do housework, and I do it everyday because that is the way I make my livin’.” .. .

    Miss Timid turns to me and says, “I do housework too but I don’t always feel like tellin’. People look down on you so.”

    Well, I can tell you that I moved in after that remark and straightened her out!...

    Of course, a lot of people...

  7. 2 Domesticating Class: Femininity, Heterosexuality, and Household Politics
    (pp. 47-68)
    Jenny Cameron

    Within Western feminism it is generally understood that an unequal distribution of labor in households is symptomatic of women’s overall subordinate position in western societies. As part of the struggle to improve women’s social position, most feminists advocate a transition from the “traditional” household, where women are the primary domestic workers, to households where there is an equal sharing of tasks between women and men. These latter households are portrayed in much feminist literature as egalitarian and progressive.¹ The transition from a traditional to an egalitarian pattern of domestic work is a familiar vision of social change in which justice...

  8. 3 Exploitation in the Labor of Love
    (pp. 69-86)
    Harriet Fraad

    In his last and longest work Louis Althusser returned with urgency to the family in the conviction that he had profoundly underestimated its importance:

    [H]ow long will even the most informed and intelligent people allow themselves to be deluded by something even more blind and blinding than that dreadful deaf fish of the unconscious, which Freud trawled up from the very depths of the seas in his long net? How much longer will they fail to recognise the blinding evidence of the true nature of the Family as an ideological State apparatus? Does one now have to point out that,...

  9. 4 Spring Flowers
    (pp. 87-120)
    Susan Jahoda

    Lately Josephine’s routines had become haphazard. Beds were made a few hours prior to their reoccupation and dinner mostly consisted of Thai and Chinese take-out. Henry didn’t get home from work until nine and Lillian put in an appearance sometime after that. Josephine sensed she was coming down with a cold. She wondered, while carefully placing bulbs in window boxes, whether plants were susceptible to contracting human viruses. At the first signs of mucus her birth mother had strung halved onions around her neck and applied eucalyptus compresses to her chest. Josephine responded to an itch below her right eye...

  10. 5 Beyond Slavery and Capitalism: Producing Class Difference in the Sex Industry
    (pp. 121-142)
    Marjolein van der Veen

    As a type of sex work,² prostitution evokes strong and divergent judgments, ranging from its validation as an empowering activity to its condemnation as a form of violation and victimization. Among those who condemn prostitution are radical feminists who regard it as a form of sexual slavery and Marxist feminists who tend to see it as an exploitative activity that proliferates with the dislocating effects of capitalism. Radical and Marxist feminist discourses typically focus on women in prostitution (and exclude the male prostitute) and produce certain characteristic representations: prostitutes are female objects of male power who become commodities exchanged in...

  11. 6 Classing the Self-Employed: New Possibilities of Power and Collectivity
    (pp. 143-162)
    Janet Hotch

    For some workers being self-employed means having flexibility in the hours they work and how they work, but for many it means working many more hours than the average wageworker. For some workers it means that they can choose to work at a particular job (and quit) without having their identity tied to that job; for others it means entrapment within a low-paying job from which there appears to be no escape. For some workers it means that they can decide to turn down work that a client offers or not work at all for a couple of days or...

  12. 7 Los Angeles: A Postmodern Class Mapping
    (pp. 163-190)
    Enid Arvidson

    Los Angeles is frequently cited in discussions and debates about an emerging postmodern¹ urbanism (e.g., Dear and Flusty 1998; Scott and Soja 1996). Once a mononucleated, modern, industrial metropolis, Los Angeles is now seen as transformed by global capitalist restructuring into a polycentered, postmodern service and information city. There is general agreement that production and reproduction are increasingly spatially decentralized, resulting from complex processes of regional wars for jobs, capital flight and deindustrialization, technological changes, new waves of immigration, and continued pursuit of an “American dream” lifestyle. As this literature develops, countless other cities are seen as following the L.A....

  13. 8 Blue Collar, White Collar: Deconstructing Classification
    (pp. 191-224)
    Jacquelyn Southern

    Blue collar, white collar—when we hear these words, we believe we know the actors. Who they are, where they are, what they want, how they feel toward society and one another: all these and more are familiar in the late twentieth century. Making their appearance in an extraordinary variety of narratives, these may be our most widely encountered signs of class. So pervasive are they that the vocabulary of different and conflicting collars serves both as one of the most common languages of class and as a well-established guide to social research.

    In the social science of this century,...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 225-246)
  15. Contributors
    (pp. 247-250)
  16. Index
    (pp. 251-258)