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"Loving Liberally: Settling Intimate Accounts in an Expanding American Home"
Thursday, December 8, 2016

A new affective regime is seeping into the workplace through the mandate to “do what you love,” a formulation that encourages workers to approach their job, like their love life, as a passionate pursuit. Based on ethnographic fieldwork exploring living organ donation, polyamory, and intentional community, I argue that this iconic late liberal discourse is returning, full circle, to the home, where people are drawing on the tools of the workplace and market to navigate new kinds of domestic and intimate arrangements that cultivate various forms of love, affection – and labor. This work on home, relationships, and self is ubiquitously characterized by my interlocutors as “exhausting, but worth it.” This talk will examine how – rather than turning the home into the cold, calculating world of markets – the mobilization of transparency, verbal communication, and contracts in practices such as polyamory is put to use in the service of carving out new spaces of care, love, and empathy. With this late liberal toolkit for working from home, these new domestic configurations are reproducing as they disorder the household theorized by classical liberalism and intensifying the centrality of liberal individualism in surprising ways.

Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
Sponsor: Anthropology Program; Dean of the College
Contact: Yuka Suzuki.
Phone: 845-758-7219

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