The Economization of Life
Michelle Murphy is Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto and the author of Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Heath, and Technoscience and Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers, both also published by Duke University Press.
Phantasmagrams of Population and Economy
Arc I tells a U.S. Cold War–era story of data practices that generated “economy” and “population” as calculative objects of national governance and intervention. At stake at the intersection of economy and population was the calculation of how life contributes to gdp, and hence the identification of forms of surplus life and life not worth being born. More than an object of calculation, the macroeconomy became a phantasmagram in which numbers were charged with imaginaries, desires, and feelings that went beyond their facticity. While early practices of modeling the national economy excluded the labor of home and care from calculations...