- Introduction to Maurizio Lazzarato's “Strategies of the Political Entrepreneur”
As a student in Padua during the 1970s, Maurizio Lazzarato participated in Autonomia Operaia, and like many other participants, he was driven into political exile in Paris by the Italian state's ruthless repression of that group and others on the extra-parliamentary left. The charges against him were resolved in the 1990s, but he continues to reside in Paris, where he has become a noted independent sociologist and philosopher engaged in research into immaterial labor, the transformation of waged labor, cognitive capitalism and "post-socialist" social movements. He has published several books, including Videofilosofia, percezione e lavoro nel post-fordismo (Rome: Manifestolibri, 1997) [Videophilosophy: Perception and Labor in Post-Fordism] and Puissances de l'invention: La psychologie économique de Gabriel Tarde contre l'économie politique (Paris: Editions les Empêcheurs de penser en rond, 2002) [Powers of Invention: Gabrial Tarde's Economic Psychology Against Political Economy], and served on the editorial boards of the journals Futur antérieur and Multitudes. He has been both an active participant in and an acute analyst of several major social and political movements in Europe over the past decade, including the Tute Bianche and the intermittent entertainment workers.
As this essay demonstrates, Lazzarato is also an adept analyst of publicity, cinema and the mass media, and the shift from Fordism to post-Fordism that they reflect. It was originally published in French, in the journal Futur antérieur, in 1994, and later revised for Italian publication in Lazzarato's book Lavoro immateriale: Forme di vita e produzione di soggettività (Verona: Ombre Corte, 1997) [Immaterial Labor: Forms of Life and the Production of Subjectivity]. The translation is based on the revised Italian version.
Timothy S. Murphy, Associate Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, is the author of Wising Up the Marks: The Amodern William Burroughs (California 1997), co-editor of The Philosophy of Antonio Negri volumes 1 & 2 (Pluto Press 2005 & 2007), and co-translator of Antonio Negri's Subversive Spinoza (Manchester 2004) and Books for Burning (Verso 2005). He has published many essays on contemporary literature and culture as well as translations of writings by Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida and others.