The hypothesis of a post-work society has provoked a newfound interest in the role of imagination in political thinking, made explicit by many authors who turned to the literary genres of utopian and sci-fi writing to sketch possible scenarios of a jobless future. This article proposes instead another mode of constructing political narratives, that of figuration. It reclaims three specific figures to demonstrate how it might be possible to build a public sphere of “unwork.” The first is Bazlen, a fictional character of a writer who never wrote; the second is the collective figure of African American “othermothers”; and finally the third is Amy, the girl who gave flesh to Carol Gilligan's “ethics of care” proposition. Departing from these specific figures, the article tackles the problem of reimagining the labors (and pleasures) of social reproduction and creative action away from the work regime. It describes how processes of subjectivation sedimented in collective imaginary impact various modes of being together and naming social cooperation. The conclusions propose that the relationship between living labor and knowledge is a nexus that can escape the violence of capitalist relations only by understanding political action as a plural capacity of unwork.

You do not currently have access to this content.