Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Media Studies


Dr. Nick Dyer-Witheford


This dissertation argues that class composition, as defined and theorised by Operaismo and Autonomist thinkers, has had both a major and a minoritarian form. In fact class composition in its major form has always been subtended by a minor current. I examine both historical (the 1905 Russian Soviets, the 1919 Turin factory councils, the Italian social movements of the 1970s) and contemporary examples (the occupation of Tahrir Square in Egypt, the Indignados movement in Spain, and Occupy Wall Street in 2011, as well as the 2012 Quebec student strike) of class composition. From these examples I then argue that the minor current of class composition is rooted in social reproduction – both its crisis and its recuperation. And further that this minor current expands throughout history, growing to command greater attention within social and labour movements. Further, this dissertation argues that contemporary social movements appear today as an assemblage, a human-machinic assemblage, which enact social reproduction in crisis and recuperation through both embodied and technologized forms. I demonstrate the ways in which technologies of communication are implicated in forms of securitised and commodified social reproduction, but also open up new and powerful possibilities for autonomous and liberatory social reproduction. This dissertation relies on a merger of conceptual, theoretical, and field research and benefits from the author’s direct involvement in social and political struggles.