Immaterial labour and alternative valorisation processes in Italian feminist debates: (re)exploring the ‘commons’ of re-production.

Donatella Alessandrini


This article takes its cue from Desai’s critique of the new communists of the commons, particularly her claim that their project is built upon a series of misunderstandings about the dynamics of capital accumulation, the production of value in post-Fordism and the concept of the ‘commons’ itself. Focusing on earlier explorations by Italian feminists of the dynamic interaction between labour and value, the contribution this article makes to the commons debate is three-fold: first, it argues that the most interesting insights emerging from immaterial/cognitive/affective labour theories on which Italian post-workerists rely to put forward a renewed understanding of the commons derive from this feminist body of work. Secondly it shows how, despite being relied upon, the radical potential of this work has been limited by positing a qualitative shift to post-Fordist production that pays little attention to the important connections between labour and value that make up our common world. Finally, the article focuses exactly on this potential, that is, the challenge to capitalist value through the instantiation of other processes of valorisation, in light of the current attack on social reproduction.


the commons; Italian feminism; immaterial labour; law of value; political economy; processes of valorisation; reproduction

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