Almost There: An undisciplined history of the sociology of Operaismo – Birmingham, 20 February

11th Feb 2019

Almost There: An undisciplined history of the sociology of Operaismo

Wednesday 20 February
Gerardo Costabile Nicoletta

University of Birmingham, Muirhead 113, 4.30-6pm

Gerardo Costabile Nicoletta (University of Naples Federico II)

Wednesday 20 February
University of Birmingham (Muirhead 122)

Operaismo and post-operaismo represent a complex galaxy of analyses, conceptual tools and methodological tenets rooted in specific and singular historical contingencies, rather than being a homogeneous and unequivocal corpus of theories. Whereas the former emerged in the violent industrialization of Italy and against the Communist Party’s national and reformist strategies in the post-war years, offering an innovative and groundbreaking interpretation of Marxism, the latter, elaborated between prisons, exile and student’s struggles, began to fit discursively into the knowledge society euphoria of the 90s. Notwithstanding the spread of operaist conceptions in the English-speaking political and social sciences, a critical account of the sociological method from which Operaismo emerged is still lacking. By looking at the transnational socio-historical discursive practices and events (re)producing such texts and theories, this lecture intends to offer a critical sociology of knowledge as well as a genealogy of heterodox and heretical Marxism in the Italian experience, contextualized in the broader dynamics of the global political economy.

The talk offers a cartography of Italian Autonomous Marxism practices, theories and debates from the mid-50s, passing through 70s molecularization and military repression until the recent revival of cognitive capitalism and the ‘institutions of common’ during the latest decades. This socio-historical contextualization will show how the practices and discourses of the Italian technocratic elites  reacted to the unmanageable everyday practices of lay and undisciplined subjectivities from which Operaist sociology built and developed antagonistic epistemological methods, sophisticated conceptual innovations and political tactics and strategies. Starting from this discussion, the recent development of post-operaisti will be critically analyzed within current debates about hegemony, praxis and institutional compromise of the European social movements. The theoretically-informed narratives of the talk offers a profane and relational approach to domination-emancipation dynamics through the lens of precise socio-historical contexts, proposing an undisciplined transnational history of the sociology of Operaismo.

Gerardo Costabile Nicoletta received his PhD at the University of Naples Federico II, Department of Sociology, where he is currently a Teaching Fellow in the history of sociology and social knowledge. His work focuses on economic experts discourses and practices at local, national and global dimension, analyzed from the resistances and sabotaging practices of lay people. He is currently writing a book on the politics of economic experts in the making of ordoliberal Europe and the articles ‘Peripheries as laboratory for economic expertise: The case of the Italian Mezzogiorno’ and ‘The Italian model of development:Lay and undisciplined perspective on Italian disciplinary economics’ are under peer-review process.

blog: https://csemidlands.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/almost-there-an-undisciplined-history-of-the-sociology-of-operaismo/

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