Sara Benaglia: The Mobility of the Matrix


Advisor/tutor: Ana Teixeira Pinto

July 2020


Triggered by the urgency to problematise the way in which the emancipation of western middle-class women impacts upon immigrant women, this thesis began in reopening the archive of Feminist Wage for Domestic Work, donated by Mariarosa Dalla Costa to the Civic Library of Padua in 2011.

The text considers reproduction as a structuring force that defines the female. For this reason this thesis initially focuses on the womb as the physical reproducer of the “general equivalent” logic. In order to explain the process of original accumulation, the text concentrates then on the reason why the woman is not an abstract universal subject. In particular, it investigates the impact of civilisation in taming women’s behaviour in Europe.

The thesis maintains the characteristic position of feminism in Italy, which is opposed to the emancipationist and guarantor model that has been established in liberal and progressive societies since the second half of the nineteenth century. The objective of achieving legal equality and formal equality between the sexes is criticised with the ultimate goal of challenging the capitalist organisation of labour, and therefore considering difference as part of a broader project of social transformation. Fundamental here is the work of feminist exponents of the Movimento di Lotta Femminista (Feminist Struggle Movement) which opposed the exploitation of women and their active precarity.

The recovery of Marxist feminism, which lies at the basis of the unfinished project to establish a wage for domestic work, creates a distance from the promises of emancipation boasted by technology and therefore can serve as the foundation from which to start again, and to plan a feminist reconstruction of a more bearable world.