A Seminar with Eric Wycoff Rogers, Cambridge University, Organized by the City/Architecture PhD Programme

Wednesdsay 8 November, 6.30 pm. 33 Bedford Square, First Floor, Back Room.

Domestic labor has, at times, been central to the reproduction of capitalism. As Rosa Luxemburg demonstrated in The Accumulation of Capital, capitalism’s dominance over other modes of production (primitive accumulation) is, in the last instance, the source of all surplus value. Profit is impossible without unremunerated labor, and, scaling beyond the individual transaction between the worker and the capitalist in the production process, in the reproduction process, vast amounts of value must constantly be transferred from unremunerated laboring activities into capitalist circulation if the economy is to grow and make up for waste and inefficiencies. In many cases, this value has been extracted from colonies, but, as I will show in my presentation, the isolationist 1920s witnessed a hyper-problematization of the household as a site of unremunerated production. I will speak about my research on the role of the Better Homes in America campaign in structuring the domestic environment (and gendered subjectivities), and then I will present my communes praxis against this historical backdrop, considering how the neoliberal “mode of regulation” and the flexible regime of accumulation might alter political strategies of self-valorization and struggles for autonomy from capital.