The Rationalization of Leisure

Critical analyses of domestic technological culture have emphasized the impact of domestic technologies on intensifying women’s labor and reinforcing its privatization within the home, all the while being marketed as laborsaving devices

Lindsay Weinberg

2019

Scholarcy highlights

  • Critical analyses of domestic technological culture have emphasized the impact of domestic technologies on intensifying women’s labor and reinforcing its privatization within the home, all the while being marketed as laborsaving devices
  • Drawing from the ways the marketing of domestic technologies framed the home as a space in need of technological administration, this article offers a Marxist feminist analysis of online surveillance during leisure time, examining how the marketing of technologies for both domestic labor and online leisure helps produce relationships between subjects and technologies that double as vehicles for capital accumulation
  • The article concludes with a discussion of how Marxist feminism is a useful theoretical framework for understanding and developing a political response to online data collection, given that both the domestic sphere and online leisure time are traditionally understood to be outside the workday, and supposedly outside the scope of capitalist workplace relations of surveillance and exploitation
  • The article concludes with a discussion of how Marxist feminism is a useful theoretical framework for developing a political response to online data collection, given that both the domestic sphere and online leisure time are traditionally understood to be outside the workday, and supposedly outside the scope of capitalist surveillance and exploitation
  • The Wages for Housework movement worked to show that the boundaries between work and family are a patriarchal construct perpetuated in the service of capitalism: by naming part of what happens in the family as work, the demand for wages challenges the division between work as a site of exploitation and the family as a “freely invented site of authentic and purely voluntary relations.” the Wages for Housework movement demonstrated that time outside of productive labor can be put in the service of capital accumulation
  • Following Tithi Bhattacharya, I have approached Marxism as “paradigmatic rather than prescriptive . . . a framework or tool to understand social relations and thereby change them. This means, necessarily, that such a tool will sometimes need to be sharpened and honed to fit new, emerging social realities.” In order to theorize the rationalization of leisure time in a way that resists recuperation, I have argued that the terms of the struggle should be shifted from a claim to have online leisure recognized as labor and adequately compensated by capital to an effort to problematize how the rest of life beyond the wage-relation is harnessed by capital to its “time, spaces, rhythms, purposes, and values.” The struggle can be redefined as existing between capital and labor and between capital and the subjects that become vehicles for capital accumulation through the production and management of their desires

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