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The Right to be Lazy, Revisited

Open seminar with Gustav Peebles, Associate Professor of Anthropology, The New School, New York, USA.

Thursday September 7 at 10.00 AM - 11.30 AM
Score, Frescativägen 14 A

Gustav Peebles
Gustav Peebles

"The Right to be Lazy, Revisited"

A floating and “free” labor force has long been considered a vital pillar of capitalism. Indeed, Marx is insistent that, since surplus value emerges from labor, capitalism cannot thrive, or even exist, without it. But what of the role of labor’s opposite, idleness? This lecture will begin by working through the arguments and historical conditions that have built up a belief in the centrality of labor; it will then move onto a consideration of the role of, for lack of a better term, non-labor, in the historical development of capitalism. To do so, we will probe the dangerous, but all too common, notion of the (supposedly) non-laboring “parasite,” as critiqued by forces from both the left and the right ends of the ideological spectrum (the former critique bankers as parasites, the latter critique the lumpenproletariat as parasites). In asking why the figure of the parasite keeps emerging, the lecture will consider the role of time, and people’s orientations toward it, as reflected by such seemingly humdrum instruments as interest rates.

The seminar will be held in English!

Gustav Peebles is an Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Global Studies, Special Advisor to the Provost, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at The New School, New York, USA.

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