More than ever, “the body” is today at the center of radical and institutional politics. Feminist, antiracist, trans, ecological movements—all look at the body in its manifold manifestations as a ground of confrontation with the state and a vehicle for transformative social practices. Concurrently, the body has become a signifier for the reproduction crisis the neoliberal turn in capitalist development has generated and for the international surge in institutional repression and public violence. In Beyond the Periphery of the Skin, lifelong activist and best-selling author Silvia Federici examines these complex processes, placing them in the context of the history of the capitalist transformation of the body into a work-machine, expanding on one of the main subjects of her first book, Caliban and the Witch.
Building on three groundbreaking lectures that she delivered in San Francisco in 2015, Federici surveys the new paradigms that today govern how the body is conceived in the collective radical imagination, as well as the new disciplinary regimes state and capital are deploying in response to mounting revolt against the daily attacks on our everyday reproduction. In this process she confronts some of the most important questions for contemporary radical political projects. What does “the body” mean, today, as a category of social/political action? What are the processes by which it is constituted? How do we dismantle the tools by which our bodies have been “enclosed” and collectively reclaim our capacity to govern them?
What People Are Saying
“Federici’s attempt to draw together the work of feminists and activists from different parts of the world and place them in historical context is brave, thought-provoking, and timely. Federici’s writing is lucid and her fury palpable.” Red Pepper
“Real transformations occur when the social relations that make up everyday life change, when there is a revolution within and across the stratifications of the social body. . . . Silvia Federici offers the kind of revolutionary perspective that is capable of revealing the obstacles that stand in the way of such change.” Feminist Review
“Reading Federici empowers us to reconnect with what is at the core of human development, women’s labor-intensive caregiving—a radical rethinking of how we live.” Z Magazine
“It is good to think with Silvia Federici, whose clarity of analysis and passionate vision come through in essays that chronicle enclosure and dispossession, witch-hunting, and other assaults against women, in the present, no less than the past. It is even better to act armed with her insights.” Eileen Boris, Hull Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California–Santa Barbara
“Silvia Federici’s theoretical capacity to articulate the plurality that fuels the contemporary movement of women in struggle provides a true toolbox for building bridges between different features and different people.” Massimo De Angelis, professor of political economy, University of East London
About the Author
Silvia Federici is a feminist writer, teacher, and militant. In 1972 she was cofounder of the International Feminist Collective that launched the Wages for Housework campaign. Her books include Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women; Caliban and the Witch; Re-enchanting the World; and Revolution at Point Zero. She is a professor emerita of social sciences at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. She worked as a teacher in Nigeria for many years and was also the cofounder of the Committee for Academic Freedom for Africa.