Re-Enchanting the World

Feminism and the Politics of the Commons

256 pages

English language

Published April 4, 2018 by PM Press.


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3 stars (2 reviews)

In this edited collection of work spanning more than 20 years, Silvia Federici provides a detailed history and critique of the politics of the commons from a feminist perspective. In her clear and combative voice, Federici provides readers with an analysis of some of the key issues in contemporary thinking on this subject. Drawing on rich historical research, she maps the connections between the previous forms of enclosure that occurred with the birth of capitalism and the destruction of the commons and the “new enclosures” at the heart of the present phase of global capitalist accumulation. Considering the commons from a feminist perspective, this collection argues that women and reproductive work are crucial to both our economic survival and the construction of a world free from the capitalist hierarchies. Federici is clear that the commons should not be understood as happy islands in a sea of exploitative relations—but rather autonomous …

4 editions


2 stars

I was rather excited to read this given how it discusses a lot of topics that I have a lot of interest in, especially given how much I liked the Wages Against Housework essay, but was left feeling rather disappointed. Federici makes a lot of broad claims which are left without any real backing or elaboration, especially when it comes to matters of what occurs internationally. I left this book with a vague sense of something going on between "Africa" and the World Bank, but not much past that. If someone were to ask me how the World Bank engages in enclosure, I am not at all confident I can explain that given what I've gotten from this book.

The essays keep retreading a lot of ground, but somehow the arguments still are really spread thin since what's getting repeated is the broad claims. The picture painted of a lot …

Review of 'Re-Enchanting the World' on 'GoodReads'

3 stars

Federici is one of the leading US-based academics working in feminism and Marxism, and her writing has that corrosive edge of someone who has had to fight against a systematic hegemony throughout her career. That serrated edge is welcome, and this book exemplifies that voice. Section One has three essays written more than 20 years ago (freshly edited) that focus on the spread of capitalism into eastern Europe and China. The second section contains more recent papers about the role of women in the workforce, framed around the idea of commons (historically) but that focuses more on Marxist theory than on the historical commons.

Some of the essays are tremendously weighted and meticulously researched. Two favourites were the insightful and in-depth "Women's struggle for land and the common good in Latin America" that uses examples from across the continent of women's use of commons as a mode of resistance, and …