Silvia Federici on Women and Capitalism

Silvia Federici interviewed by Daniel Denvir
The Dig, 2019
Level: advanced
Perspectives: Feminist Economics, Marxian Political Economy
Topic: Capitalism, Commons, economic history, Feminism, labour & care
Format: podcast
Duration: 02:08:29
Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/silvia-federici-on-women-and-capitalism/id1043245989?i=1000449702959

The podcast is an interview of Silvia Federici by David Denvir. It is centred around her book 'Caliban and the Witch - Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation', but they also draw lines to contemporary issues and political struggles. Federici analyses the emergence of capitalism through a radical Feminist-Marxist lens. She argues that the emergence of capitalism did not just depend on the separation of producers and means of production (as in a more classical Marxist analysis), but that it required a transformation of all aspects of life and relations. Central, was the need to transform the conditions of reproduction because the accumulation of wealth first and foremost depend on human labour. To increase the control of reproduction, women had to be disciplined and individualised. These processes happened through the witch hunts, where women, who were close to Nature, had knowledge on birth-control, were seen as over-sexual, and collectively organised, were publicly killed, and through enclosures both of the commons, where the ties of collective work were weakened, and also of bodies and of knowledge (specifically that of witches). In the interview, such historical processes are explored in their connection to the divisions and hierarchies that structure capitalism. Federici and Denvir further explore contemporary connections and more recent ways of disciplining women and the body.


Comment from our editors:

A great interview for anyone interested in the emergence of capitalism and the social and historical processes that created its foundation. The interview is based on analysis from Federici's book 'Caliban and the Witch - Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation', where you can dive more into the topic, if you are interested in that.


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