Rosler Chapter 6

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S.R. Yes, yes ... It's making a lot of sense for me. I'm just trying to push it a little further. How do you see the developments in the last ten years, fifteen years maybe? Because I was thinking a lot about that, and I wrote some essays. I have the feeling that the traditional or the formerly divided worlds, like the reproductive part and the productive part of the world – of course these are abstractions... But I have the feeling, that in the last fifteen years through the new media and through new modes of working – so we call it »deregulated life«, something like that, »deregulated work, labour« – that these two different worlds are much more fused, mixed and confused also, so that one of my thinking models, how I try to start to discuss it with my students, is always that I say: in the formerly divided worlds of labour we had maybe only two parts that were in the same way confused like it starts to be now for many people in different classes in the society and that were only the sector of prostitution and, in part, of art where the imagination, the unconscious said: what they are doing is in the same way production and reproduction. And then of course we have an image of it; in the new deregulated labour often you don't have corporations, but you have something like a representation of the work. They are not really labourers for a corporation, they are maybe working at their home or working in totally different places but they get represented as the whole family working in this corporation for example.

M.R. I agree with you. This is, I think, one of the reasons that people's, our attention turned to this question of labour, production, reproduction was because it was hitting a crisis point at which it was about to become much less clear and much more interlaced so... yes, I think that, the change in the media universe has brought about exactly what you described, though I want to say there's a little space there where I'd like to actually think a little more about, whether this is a trend or... a condition. But it does seem this way now, and in fact one way to say it is that the division between public and private has been abrogated by the interpenetration of the commodity and of the mediated commodity into all of everyday life. Perhaps that's where we can agree. But I do think, that in the mid 60s the incipient destruction of the private sphere was a dot on the horizon and not at all clear, and at the same time, the failure of all kinds of male practices to incorporate these softer elements needed to be addressed; it was unacceptable... If you remember, one of the critiques of feminism is that, in a way, it destroyed the family, but of course it's the other way around: it's the destruction of the family necessitated another round of feminist theorizing. And I say another, because of course in the early part of the 20th century, there had been one, and then in the mid 19th century. With every successive change in the conditions of production and reproduction within family and work, you see the rise of women thinking about the role of women and agitating about the way for women to gain and equalize their status as public citizens.

Martha Rosler »