CFP: Utility, Excess, Value, Waste (grad) (1/31/06; journal issue)

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Utility, Excess, Value, Waste:
Interrogating the Productive and the Unproductive

The difference between the productive and the unproductive vexes us in the most banal and daily
ways: we use these terms to categorize not only our work, but also our social exchanges, our
affective states, our political activities, our time itself. We do not merely "do" productive or
unproductive things, we _feel_ productive or unproductive. We unconsciously attach a normative
value to these descriptions of our daily activity and labor, attributing goodness, usefulness and
meaning to productivity, and waste, laxity, and luxury to that which is unproductive.

For this special issue of Critical Sense we are interested in a variety of approaches to these
concepts: work that rethinks productivity and its attending terms within the discourse of economy;
work that translates the categories of the productive and the unproductive into other discursive
contexts; and work that is critical of the concepts themselves. If these terms trace their origin
to classic political economy--in which they may claim to be structural or descriptive rather than
normative--they have become equally important to (and the objects of critique within) a range of
other fields and discourses. We welcome a wide range of submissions that deal with this topic.
Questions or issues that might be relevant include:

*Productivity of the "symbolic work" of marketing and branding; role of affective labor in
*Feminist/gender theory critiques of the concepts of the productive and unproductive; role of
reproduction at the level of the family as well as within ideological forms
*Adequacy or inadequacy of these terms to pre-colonial, colonial, or neocolonial slavery and slave
*The value of the unproductive, that which cannot find equivalent, which cannot produce economic
value or be thought in its terms, that which is excessive or beyond measure: the lazy, the
ineffectual, resistance and refusal
*"Non-productive" (and, indeed, non-economic) economies of gift and sacrifice
*Relevance to the aesthetics of decadence, excess, or immoderation
*Relevance to/role within libidinal economies; productivity or unproductiveness of drives,
desires, repressive labor
*Relevance of productivity to the epistemological, cognitive, or philosophical
*Productivity in politics: examining cults of efficiency or critiques of mass or elite politics
invoking the notions of efficiency, expediency, waste, and/or unproductive activity

We also welcome book reviews on any topic within the orbit of political and cultural theory,
whether related or unrelated to the issue's theme. Papers should be no more than 30 pages;
reviews, no more than 10. All submissions are due by JANUARY 31st, 2006 electronically to

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Received on Fri Dec 09 2005 - 15:18:36 EST