“California students get tracking devices”
The Associated Press [08/18/2010]
RICHMOND, Calif.—California officials are outfitting preschoolers in Contra Costa County with tracking devices they say will save staff time and money.
The system was introduced Tuesday. When at the school, students will wear a jersey that has a small radio frequency tag. The tag will send signals to sensors that help track children’s whereabouts, attendance and even whether they’ve eaten or not.
School officials say it will free up teachers and administrators who previously had to note on paper files when a child was absent or had eaten.
Sung Kim of the county’s employment and human services department said the system could save thousands of hours of staff time and pay for itself within a year.
It cost $50,000 and was paid by a federal grant.
“The ‘homework economy’ outside ‘the home’”
from “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 1991. [PDF]
The ‘New Industrial Revolution’ is producing a new world-wide working class, as well as new sexualities and ethnicities. The extreme mobility of capital and the emerging international division of labour are intertwined with the emergence of new collectivities, and the weakening of familiar groupings. These developments are neither gender- nor race-neutral. White men in advanced industrial societies have become newly vulnerable to permanent job loss, and women are not disappearing from the job rolls at the same rates as men. It is not simply that women in Third World countries are the preferred labour force for the science-based multinationals in the export-processing sectors, particularly in electronics. The picture is more systematic and involves reproduction, sexuality, culture, consumption, and production. In the prototypical Silicon Valley, many women’s lives have been structured around employment in electronics-dependent jobs, and their intimate realities include serial heterosexual monogamy, negotiating childcare, distance from extended kin or most other forms of traditional community, a high likelihood of loneliness and extreme economic vulnerability as they age. The ethnic and racial diversity of women in Silicon Valley structures a microcosm of conflicting differences in culture, family, religion, education, and language. Read more…
“The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class Perspective”
Chapter 13 of Women, Race and Class 
The countless chores collectively known as “housework” – cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, making beds, sweeping, shopping etc. – apparently consume some three to four thousand hours of the average housewife’s year. As startling as this statistic may be, ir does not even account for the constant and unquantifiable attention mothers must give to their children. Just as a woman’s maternal duties are always taken for granted, her never-ending toil as a housewife rarely occasions expressions of appreciation within her family. Housework, after all, is virtually invisible: “No one notices it until it isn’t done – we notice the unmade bed, not the scrubbed and polished floor.” Invisible, repetitive, exhausting, unproductive, uncreative – these are the adjectives which most perfectly capture the nature of housework. Read more…
“Economies of affectivity”
Juan Martín Prada
Life and biopolitics
It is no longer an exaggeration to claim that we are in the “biological century”, judging by the intense development and the dimension of the achievements attained in recent years in some of the life sciences, such as Genomics and Biotechnology. However, let us not forget that the increasingly more efficient knowledge of the biological processes or genetic determinations of life and its functional mechanisms is only a small part of biopolitical action, whose real capacity for regulation is much more extensive, spanning all of the vital processes that ultimately make up the collective production of subjectivity. Thus, the capacity to improve or transform bodies or the biological conditions of a life are no longer prevalent among the keys of biopolitics but rather, more than anything else, the production and reproduction of ways of living. Read more…
“Notes on the edu–factory and Cognitive Capitalism”
George Caffentzis / Silvia Federici, 2007. [link]
In the framework of the “edu–factory” discussion we want to share some reflections on two concepts that have been central to the debate: the edu–factory and cognitive capitalism. We agree with the key point of the “edu–factory” discussion prospectus: As was the factory, so now is the university. Where once the factory was a paradigmatic site of struggle between workers and capitalists, so now the university is a key space of conflict, where the ownership of knowledge, the reproduction of the labour force, and the creation of social and cultural stratifications are all at stake. This is to say the university is not just another institution subject to sovereign and governmental controls, but a crucial site in which wider social struggles are won and lost. Read more…