Imágenes y sonidos de Ciudad Juárez.
In this chapter, I shall use Walter Benjamin’s notion of a dialectical image to examine the figure of the Mexican woman worker formed within the narrative of her general disposability. The dialectical image is one whose apparent stillness obscures the tensions that actually hold it in suspension. It is a caesura forged by clashing forces. With this dialectical image in mind, I see the Mexican woman depicted in the murder narratives as a life stilled by the discord of value pitted against waste. I focus on the narrative image of her, rather than on the lives of the murder victims, to reveal the intimate connection binding these stilled lives to the reproductions of value in the maquiladoras located in Ciudad Juarez. Through a comparison of a maquiladora narrative of categorical disavowal of responsibility for the violence with another maquila narrative explaining the mundane problem of labor turnover, the Mexican woman freezes as a subject stilled by the tensions linking the two tales. Melissa Wright, Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism (via overnightbivouac)
Marx begins his analysis of capital with the commodity precisely to demonstrate that the things of capital cannot be understood without seeing their intimate relationship to the people who make them. He too, was extremely concerned with subjectivity even though he overdetermined the parameters for considering what sorts of subjects matter in his analysis. The notion of skill as a negotiated quality of value assigned to labor power takes its cues from feminist analyses of the valorization of workers and work, and the formation of skill categories. Feminist scholars have demonstrated that one must consider how perception of the subject inform perceptions of the value promised by the subject;s labor power and how skill is key for the differential valorization of the labor force (McDowell 1997; Cockburn 1985; Elson and Pearson 1981). This feminist contribution does not replace a Marxian analysis, but rather reveals how poststructuralist theorizations of subjectivity are not necessarily at odds with a Marxian critique of capital (see Joseph 1998). Critical for Marx is an exploration of how value materializes, as it does in capital, as one continually makes abstract connections linking human energies with inanimate objects. Marx made this point clearly, but he failed to recognize how the many forms of labor abstraction that are categorized variably as degrees of skill complicate the relationship, linking the value perceived in laborers to the value perceived to be embodied in the commodities that make. Melissa W. Wright. The Dialectics of Still Life: Murder, Women, and Maquiladoras 1999. (via reagan-and-sara)
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