Recognized Work: Exploitation v Expropriation

Project: The function of symbolic representations of work and creativity in the politics of securing space for exploitation v. space for expropriation

Colonial claims on territory have long been bolstered by discourses recognizing and withholding recognition of human work upon the landscape. As these discourses have operated and been codified in moral economy and law, they have in turn reconstructed some people as fully human and others as inhuman.

Neoliberal symbolic constructions of “creativity” (creative class, creative metropole zones) function to create shared norms around what we can recognize as human making and what we collectively misrecognize as inhuman work that may be discounted, disrupted, dismantled, polluted: either “natural landscapes” or zones of unmaking.

The perspective we take when we engage in collective projects valorizing “creativity” should be examined for the ways in which it reflects going capitalist interests, and reconstructs “ruined,” expendable, expropriable, pollution-sink spaces and people bereft of “creativity.”

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