The politics of collective repair: examining object-relations in a postwork society

In this paper, we look at repair as an emergent focus of recent activism in affluent societies, where a number of groups are reclaiming practices of repair as a form of political and ecological action. Ranging from those that fight for legislative change to those groups who are trying to support ecological and social change through everyday life practices, repair is beginning to surface tensions in everyday life and as such poses opportunities for its transformation. We survey a few of the practices that make up this movement in its various articulations, to take stock of their current political import. While we suggest that these practices can be seen as an emergent lifestyle movement, they should not be seen as presenting a unified statement. Rather, we aim to show that they articulate a spectrum of political positions, particularly in relation to the three specific issues of property, pedagogy and sociality. These three dimensions are all facets of current internal discrepancies of repair practices and moreover express potential bifurcations as this movement evolves. Drawing on a diverse methodology that includes discourse analysis and participant observation, we suggest some of the ways in which this growing area of activity could play a significant role in resisting the commodification of the everyday and inventing postwork alternatives.

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