Coresearch and Counter-Research: Romano Alquati’s Itinerary Within and Beyond Italian Radical Political Thought


The per­son­al, polit­i­cal and intel­lec­tu­al itin­er­ary of Romano Alquati1 was inex­tri­ca­bly bound up with Ital­ian post­war his­to­ry, when a gen­er­a­tion of mil­i­tants rel­e­gat­ed the impor­tance of their own pro­fes­sion to sec­ond place, seek­ing instead jobs that could sup­port their polit­i­cal com­mit­ment. In doing so, they cre­at­ed a new way of “being-polit­i­cal” that would prove to be a water­shed for suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions, up to the present day.2 This was the premise for a new social sci­ence in which the schol­ar and the polit­i­cal “van­guard” assumed the task of dis­cussing and crit­i­ciz­ing the con­sti­tu­tion of soci­ety through both the­o­ret­i­cal elab­o­ra­tion and empir­i­cal research. They did this togeth­er with sub­jects who were no longer seen as objects of research, but rather as sub­jec­tiv­i­ties play­ing an active part in envi­sion­ing and real­iz­ing social change.

The stages in Romano Alquati’s research can be peri­odized with­in the Ital­ian work­erist thought of the Six­ties and Sev­en­ties; more gen­er­al­ly, they are inscribed in the fur­rows of the phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal approach devel­oped by Enzo Paci and Gui­do Davide Neri, which ques­tioned the philo­soph­i­cal pre­sup­po­si­tions of the Marx­ist ortho­doxy, start­ing with its more deter­min­is­tic and philo­soph­i­cal aspects. More specif­i­cal­ly, Alquati’s research pro­gram was direct­ed towards the rad­i­cal renew­al of the study of indus­tri­al soci­ol­o­gy and to the devel­op­ment of social core­search in Italy. In the notes that fol­low, we will attempt to draw out the key facets of this under­tak­ing.

1. The years of political and intellectual formation

Romano Alquati was born into a mid­dle-upper bour­geois fam­i­ly, as he once recalled in an auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal inter­view.3 His father Car­lo Alquati, an army gen­er­al and friend of Gabriele D’Annunzio, had been ban­ished to Croa­t­ia due to his left-wing stance with­in the fas­cist par­ty; it was there that Romano was born and spent his ear­li­est years. In 1945, at the age of ten, he lost his father, who was exe­cut­ed by par­ti­sans in Ver­cel­li. The “social col­lapse” in his family’s for­tune led to pover­ty in the very dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances of Italy’s post­war peri­od.

Alquati’s for­ma­tive years were spent in Cre­mona, a mid-sized Ital­ian city in the mid­dle of the Po val­ley, then expe­ri­enc­ing the pro­found restruc­tur­ing of the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor along­side the pro­gres­sive dif­fu­sion of indus­tri­al­iza­tion in the guise of small and medi­um enter­pris­es. Cre­mona in the fifties was also a gen­uine polit­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ry that offered both a breadth of hori­zons and the devel­op­ment of social and polit­i­cal rela­tion­ships in Italy and abroad, so it was for­tu­nate indeed for Alquati that he began his polit­i­cal mil­i­tan­cy there. In par­tic­u­lar, the deci­sive encoun­ters involved were with Dani­lo Mon­tal­di, then with Rena­to Rozzi – who would become his wise and patient “big broth­er” – as well as with Gio­van­ni Bot­taioli, an old inter­na­tion­al­ist work­ing class polit­i­cal mil­i­tant.4 On the oth­er hand, accord­ing to Gian­fran­co Fia­meni5, it is pos­si­ble to find in Alquati a kind of “pro­to-operais­mo,” “close to real process­es, to the pres­ences that we encoun­tered in the Cre­mona ‘fac­to­ry’ peri­od and in many read­ings and meet­ings.”

Romano’s polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence stemmed from that minori­tar­i­an but impor­tant com­po­nent of “bare­foot researchers” of the fifties. While con­tin­u­ing to oper­ate in a crit­i­cal way with­in the labour move­ment (the unions in par­tic­u­lar), they broke pro­found­ly with the insti­tu­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tives of that move­ment, along with all nation­al roads to social­ism. At the same time they remained dis­tinct, for gen­er­a­tional rea­sons as much as any­thing else, from the “his­toric” anti-Stal­in­ist oppo­si­tion, antic­i­pat­ing the extra­or­di­nary rup­ture that would mature ful­ly only with 1968. Romano Alquati was nur­tured with­in a cul­tur­al set­ting that sought a Marx­ism freed of encrus­ta­tions, able to inves­ti­gate and engage with the work­ing class for what it was, rather than what it was meant to be accord­ing to the canon­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the Com­mu­nist par­ty. As Ser­gio Bologna has empha­sised, the work­erists were oblig­ed to come to terms with two cul­tures with­in the Ital­ian “Left”: on the one hand, the ten­den­cy of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty to con­cen­trate upon mat­ters of the country’s gov­er­nance; on the oth­er, the pri­or­i­ty assigned with­in anti-cap­i­tal­ist cir­cles to sup­port­ing nation­al lib­er­a­tion strug­gles in Third World coun­tries.6 Like oth­er work­erists, Alquati main­tained his dis­tance from such per­spec­tives, pre­fer­ring to fol­low Dani­lo Mon­tal­di in inquir­ing into the work­ing class, start­ing from the latter’s sub­jec­tiv­i­ty.7 If such research in part entailed the refine­ment of old the­o­ret­i­cal tools, it was also capa­ble of pro­duc­ing gen­uine method­olog­i­cal inno­va­tions. Pos­i­tivist inquiry, under­stood as the mere repro­duc­tion of ide­o­log­i­cal rhetorics, was reject­ed, in favor of research that aimed to con­struct a new knowl­edge togeth­er with the sub­jects under inves­ti­ga­tion. This was a com­pre­hen­sive approach, able to learn from inten­tions, desires, and val­ues – both spo­ken and unspo­ken – as they expressed them­selves with­in the class. As Bologna lat­er put it,

In the Six­ties – core­search, to my mind, is func­tion­al to what I’m about to say – we were con­vinced that with­in the body of the work­ing class there was already, whole, the knowl­edge of lib­er­a­tion, the aware­ness of sol­i­dar­i­ty, of cohe­sion, of rebel­lion. We were con­vinced that con­flict as a form of social iden­ti­ty lay with­in the genet­ic inher­i­tance of the work­ing class, but that there was also a mem­o­ry of hard defeats and there­fore, you could say, a “pru­dence” that had to be respect­ed.8

Strong­ly social­ized by the sur­round­ing polit­i­cal and artis­tic envi­ron­ment from his twen­ties, Alquati’s ear­ly polit­i­cal expe­ri­ences in the care of Dani­lo Mon­tal­di led him first to Milan and then to Turin. There he par­tic­i­pat­ed active­ly with Raniero Panzieri in the edi­to­r­i­al board of the jour­nal Quaderni Rossi, a cru­cial moment for the for­ma­tion of the New Left. Fol­low­ing the split in Quaderni Rossi, in 1963 he found­ed Classe Opera­ia togeth­er with Mario Tron­ti and Toni Negri, in what would be the true birth­place of what lat­er came to be known as operais­mo.

The pre­vi­ous­ly elit­ist Ital­ian uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem was great­ly dis­rupt­ed dur­ing the Six­ties and Sev­en­ties, allow­ing many polit­i­cal mil­i­tants forged in the cycle of strug­gles rag­ing in the fac­to­ries and beyond to insert them­selves in ter­tiary edu­ca­tion either as stu­dents or researchers. It was in these cir­cum­stances that the mil­i­tant researcher Romano Alquati found employ­ment: first as a casu­al, untenured staff mem­ber, then as an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor. Like many oth­er com­rades of the time, he avoid­ed the pur­suit of an aca­d­e­m­ic career like the plague: “I nev­er want­ed to apply for a pro­fes­so­r­i­al chair, above all because I want­ed to avoid the pres­sures and expec­ta­tions [cer­ti con­dizion­a­men­ti] imposed by the insti­tu­tion­al left.” As Gui­do Borio has empha­sized, “for years he sur­vived as a uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor, his work draw­ing much atten­tion from stu­dents and almost none from his col­leagues – indeed, he was fre­quent­ly iso­lat­ed with­in an acad­e­my that nev­er rec­og­nized nor accept­ed his intel­lec­tu­al dis­tinc­tive­ness”.

2. Alquati’s innovations

Romano Alquati suc­ceed­ed in impress­ing a num­ber of con­cep­tu­al instru­ments and cat­e­gories upon a wider audi­ence. Here we will con­cen­trate on some of these, in par­tic­u­lar those relat­ing to sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, core­search, ambiva­lence, and process­es of hyper-indus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.

2.1 Subjectivity

A first theme, clear­ly con­nect­ed with Alquati’s whole itin­er­ary, is the “dis­cov­ery” of process­es of sub­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion and the “erup­tion of sub­jec­tiv­i­ty” with­in polit­i­cal cat­e­gories. From the end of the fifties, Alquati fre­quent­ed fac­to­ry gates like oth­er promi­nent left intel­lec­tu­als, com­mut­ing between Milan and Cre­mona before final­ly trans­fer­ring to Turin in 1960. Turin was Italy’s lead­ing indus­tri­al city in those years, and the home of the country’s largest pri­vate firm, FIAT. In that city’s fac­to­ries dur­ing the six­ties and sev­en­ties, new gen­er­a­tions emerged with a range of work and life expe­ri­ences behind them. Many work­ers were inter­nal migrants who had come either direct­ly from the country’s South or North­east, or after spend­ing time in in oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries.

With­in this cru­cible of col­lec­tive expe­ri­ences, Alquati lived in close con­tact with a new work­ing class fig­ure, those “new forces” of the “mass work­er,” poten­tial­ly antag­o­nis­tic to neo-cap­i­tal­ism while also dis­tant in both behav­iours and men­tal­i­ty from the old labour move­ment. It was with­in this col­lec­tiv­i­ty that fun­da­men­tal cat­e­gories of analy­sis such as class com­po­si­tion were elab­o­rat­ed, and an approach of study/intervention was pro­posed by means of the “method” of core­search.9 The social con­struc­tion of per­son­al rela­tions with­in the soil of a gen­er­a­tion of strug­gle – the gen­er­a­tion of the Six­ties and Sev­en­ties – would be cen­tral for grasp­ing the expres­sions and forms of these sub­jec­tiv­i­ties, which can­not be reduced to sin­gle indi­vid­u­als, but rather had trans­formed into often-con­tex­tu­al­ized col­lec­tive sub­jec­tiv­i­ties.

This can be seen clear­ly in Alquati’s impor­tant essays on FIAT work­ers, pub­lished orig­i­nal­ly in the pages of Quaderni Rossi and Classe Opera­ia and lat­er col­lect­ed in the anthol­o­gy On FIAT (1975). Long a bas­tion of seem­ing indus­tri­al peace, FIAT had been notable for its con­tin­ued qui­es­cence dur­ing the ini­tial stages in the revival of strike activ­i­ty that marked the open­ing years of the six­ties. Through the tools of inquiry and core­search, how­ev­er, Alquati and his clos­est com­rades were able to offer a dif­fer­ent read­ing, one that high­light­ed the latent pos­si­bil­i­ties with­in the auto giant. One of Alquati’s most impor­tant achieve­ments, there­fore, was to be amongst the first to dis­cern a turn­ing of the tide, embod­ied in the up-and-com­ing “new forces.” While the basis for the latter’s grow­ing antag­o­nism towards the cap­i­tal­ist mode of pro­duc­tion was shown to be a direct con­se­quence of their expe­ri­ence of mod­ern fac­to­ry work, Alquati also began to draw out the dis­tinc­tive ele­ments that marked these “new forces” as cen­tral to an emerg­ing class com­po­si­tion pos­sess­ing its own cul­tures and sen­si­bil­i­ties. Thus, if the “new forces” were typ­i­cal­ly wary of a labor move­ment obliv­i­ous to their con­cerns, this did not mean that the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of work­ers should sim­ply be dis­missed as slaves to con­sumerism who meek­ly accept­ed their lot on the assem­bly line:

The new work­ers do not talk abstract­ly of social rev­o­lu­tion, but nei­ther are they dis­posed towards neo-reformist adven­tures that leave untouched the fun­da­men­tal ques­tions of class exploita­tion as they ver­i­fy them in the work­place.10

Romano Alquati’s tra­jec­to­ry needs to be read with­in the trans­for­ma­tion of class com­po­si­tion and its expres­sion in polit­i­cal com­po­si­tion: this process is what operais­mo rep­re­sent­ed. As Ser­gio Bologna has not­ed, the “work­erists” sought to fuse a het­ero­dox inter­pre­ta­tion of Marx with the real­i­ty of the fac­to­ry. In this man­ner, the­o­ry assumed an instru­men­tal val­ue, giv­en that it could exist only by start­ing from this con­stant encounter with the dynam­ics of pro­duc­tion, con­scious of the com­plex­i­ty and pain [durez­za] of fac­to­ry work.

Alquati’s oth­er influ­en­tial study of the ear­ly Six­ties cen­tred upon Olivet­ti, then Italy’s lead­ing pro­duc­er of cal­cu­la­tors and oth­er busi­ness machines. This too was con­duct­ed as an exer­cise in core­search, car­ried out with a team of local Social­ist par­ty mil­i­tants dis­tin­guished by their sin­gle-mind­ed ded­i­ca­tion to work­ers’ self-orga­ni­za­tion. Although the Olivet­ti text is more com­mon­ly remem­bered as the first text with­in which the work­erist dis­course on class com­po­si­tion became explic­it, it is also mem­o­rable for oth­er rea­sons. As Mat­teo Pasquinel­li has recent­ly argued, “Organ­ic com­po­si­tion of cap­i­tal and labor-pow­er at Olivet­ti” con­tains an intrigu­ing dis­cus­sion of the place of infor­ma­tion with­in the cap­i­tal-labour rela­tion. In this rela­tion­ship, infor­ma­tion is pre­sent­ed as intrin­sic to capital’s val­oriza­tion process. Indeed,

Infor­ma­tion is the most impor­tant thing [l’essenziale] about labor-pow­er: it is what the work­er, by means of con­stant cap­i­tal, trans­mits to the means of pro­duc­tion upon the basis of eval­u­a­tions, mea­sures, elab­o­ra­tions, in order to work [oper­are] upon the object of labor all those changes in form that give it the use-val­ue required. The “dis­pos­abil­i­ty” of the work­er leads them to be a qual­i­ta­tive index of social­ly nec­es­sary labour time, by which the “prod­uct” is val­ued as the “recip­i­ent” of a cer­tain quan­ti­ty of “infor­ma­tion”… “Pro­duc­tive labor” is defined in the qual­i­ty of the “infor­ma­tion” elab­o­rat­ed and trans­mit­ted by the work­er to the “means of pro­duc­tion”, with the medi­a­tion of “con­stant cap­i­tal,” in a man­ner that is ever increas­ing­ly [ten­den­zial­mente] “indi­rect,” yet com­plete­ly “social­ized.”11

Like much of Alquati’s work, there is a cer­tain ambi­gu­i­ty in this pas­sage, yet also much that demands fur­ther reflec­tion. Are val­ue and infor­ma­tion the same thing? The text does not elab­o­rate fur­ther. Instead it goes on to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between two modes of infor­ma­tion. First, as Pasquinel­li also high­lights, there is the “con­trol infor­ma­tion” that seeks to mon­i­tor and reg­u­late pro­duc­tion in pur­suit of fur­ther accu­mu­la­tion.12 Sec­ond, there is that infor­ma­tion “that con­sti­tutes the col­lec­tive lega­cy of the work­ing class… pro­duc­tive infor­ma­tion tout court,” which cap­i­tal, through the sub­sump­tion of labor, attempts to trans­mo­gri­fy into the “con­trol infor­ma­tion” need­ed for the plan­ning of pro­duc­tion.13 Through all this, Alquati sought to draw out the poten­tial for class antag­o­nism lying nascent and latent in even the most seem­ing­ly atom­ized and inte­grat­ed work­force, always aim­ing

to sur­pass the imme­di­ate, the empir­i­cal, to sur­pass his­tor­i­cal­ly the grave polit­i­cal lim­it of the par­tial­i­ty of a dis­course that remains inter­de­pen­dent with the par­tial and atom­ized nature of strug­gles, in order to attain that gen­er­al­i­ty of dis­course that ren­ders strug­gle glob­al.14

If in the vision of the Ital­ian Com­mu­nist par­ty, work­ers’ sub­jec­tiv­i­ty remained with­in the con­fines of par­ty direc­tives, Alquati fol­lowed E. P. Thomp­son in empha­sis­ing how the work­ing class must “be under­stood as a con­tin­u­ous devel­op­ment: [it] is seen not as that which must con­quer pow­er, but as a great pop­u­la­tion that must be stud­ied at a lev­el that typ­i­fies anthro­pol­o­gy, in the con­tin­u­ous devel­op­ment of world cul­tures.”15 This dis­course on sub­jec­tiv­i­ty is the premise and foun­da­tion of core­search.

2.2 Coresearch and class composition

The prac­tice of core­search is the authen­tic node around which revolved not only Alquati’s intel­lec­tu­al work, but also the polit­i­cal rela­tion­ships that he con­struct­ed. Core­search, which emerged in the ear­ly Six­ties as mil­i­tant field­work with work­ers at FIAT Mirafiori and oth­er fac­to­ries in Pied­mont (Olivet­ti, Lan­cia), is both an activ­i­ty of inquiry and a knowl­edge process, entail­ing a rec­i­p­ro­cal trans­for­ma­tion in the iden­ti­ty of the researcher and what began to be called work­ers’ sub­jec­tiv­i­ty. As a prac­tice of inter­ven­tion it placed the mil­i­tant researcher on the same lev­el as the sub­ject of the inquiry, annulling the sep­a­rate fig­ure of the “van­guard” so dear to the log­ic of the Left. In doing so, it hor­i­zon­tal­ly refor­mu­lat­ed the rela­tion­ship between the­o­ry, prax­is and orga­ni­za­tion. It was a prac­tice that could not be for­mal­ized in a method, one that made it pos­si­ble to read, even in peri­ods of pas­siv­i­ty, signs of impend­ing con­flict, the infor­mal orga­ni­za­tion and con­stituent ambiva­lences that lay in the gap between the class’s tech­ni­cal com­po­si­tion (the objec­tive artic­u­la­tion of labor-pow­er) and its polit­i­cal com­po­si­tion.

Core­search rep­re­sents an epis­te­mo­log­i­cal “break,” in that it seeks to over­come the divide between objec­tiv­i­ty and sub­jec­tiv­i­ty. Alquati was fierce­ly crit­i­cal of a social sci­ence that sought refuge behind method­olog­i­cal bulk­heads as a means of secur­ing respectabil­i­ty: against this, he devel­oped a quite pre­cise rela­tion­ship between the deter­mi­na­tion of a sci­en­tif­ic object, the line of inquiry, ways of reflect­ing upon the gath­ered data, and the pre­sen­ta­tion of research find­ings. Still, as Alquati him­self admit­ted, “thanks to the sim­ple fact that I made use of qual­i­ta­tive meth­ods, I was nev­er con­sid­ered to be a real sci­en­tist” – a cir­cum­stance all the more far­ci­cal giv­en that he had writ­ten his the­sis on quan­ti­ta­tive meth­ods at a time when almost no one in Italy made use of them.16

(Co-)research becomes effec­tive through its col­lec­tive con­struc­tion, giv­en that it is a space in which the sub­jec­tiv­i­ty of the core­searchers and the researched can express them­selves. Research car­ried out togeth­er with sub­jects is there­fore an open and prac­ti­cal process that facil­i­tates the acqui­si­tion of knowl­edge able to devel­op a com­mon activ­i­ty, set­ting in motion the sub­jec­tiv­i­ty of par­tic­i­pants. Core­search pro­vokes a change in one’s own social prac­tices, since it implies an active know­ing that trans­forms, in their var­i­ous social roles, all the mem­bers of the col­lec­tive that take part. Core­search is a form of rec­i­p­ro­cal con­t­a­m­i­na­tion and con­ta­gion, even if it is dif­fi­cult to extend it spon­ta­neous­ly. The coop­er­a­tion that devel­ops con­tains lev­els of rec­i­p­ro­cal orches­tra­tion between par­tic­i­pants who, accord­ing to Alquati, need to explic­it­ly over­come the dichoto­my between tech­ni­cal orga­ni­za­tion – com­pe­ten­cies – and polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion, where deci­sions can be made.

Core­search can be thought of as a polit­i­cal method of knowl­edge and inter­ven­tion, the enlarge­ment and enrich­ment of forms of pro­duc­tion and repro­duc­tion. It is clear there­fore that it implies the involve­ment and the valu­ing of the com­pe­ten­cies of every­one in the col­lec­tive, through the endow­ment of a com­mon lan­guage of link­age. In this sense it can­not be resolved in a sin­gle fixed, giv­en moment, but instead is a con­tin­u­al prac­tice that involves and trans­forms the mem­bers of a col­lec­tive with­in forms of coop­er­a­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, rather than a cadre orga­ni­za­tion. As Dani­lo Mon­tal­di had already made clear in his book Mil­i­tan­ti politi­ci di base, the edu­ca­tor must be edu­cat­ed not by a par­ty school, but by dai­ly expe­ri­ence with­in the class itself.17

Core­search is there­fore a method of act­ing accord­ing to an open and prac­ti­cal process, in which lis­ten­ing and dia­logue are indis­pens­able com­po­nents able to refine the­o­ret­i­cal appa­ra­tus­es in a con­tin­u­al man­ner, on the basis of what emerges from the field.18 In short, core­search is the con­quest of knowl­edge from a spe­cif­ic point of view, a direct class per­spec­tive. It involves there­fore an activ­i­ty that enables the con­struc­tion of new pos­si­bil­i­ties: “Core­search for its part is noth­ing oth­er than the col­lec­tive, com­mon, sys­tem­at­ic, rich and potent research into [a subject’s] con­di­tions and modal­i­ties of its own actu­al­iza­tion [attuazione di cio’]: it is counter-research.”19

The method pur­sued by Alquati, there­fore, entailed ren­der­ing mat­ters rec­i­p­ro­cal­ly com­pre­hen­si­ble, through an open process able to devel­op the col­lec­tive capac­i­ties of an “act­ing-togeth­er” that val­ues the com­pe­ten­cies of all mem­bers in a col­lec­tive. This long-term prac­tice made pos­si­ble the trans­for­ma­tion of the exist­ing – in par­tic­u­lar, of social rela­tions tied to polit­i­cal dom­i­na­tion – along­side a place of counter-coop­er­a­tion by researchers pos­sessed of dif­fer­ent capac­i­ties for research. Against the knowl­edge that cap­i­tal uses to gov­ern, core­search devel­ops a counter-knowl­edge.

Core­search is one stage in an exper­i­men­tal path that, accord­ing to Alquati – pro­vok­ing those youths who con­ceived of changes with­in the very short term – must be devel­oped with­in a long-term process. Core­search must sur­vive indi­vid­ual dif­fi­cul­ties, enlarge itself, sus­tain itself as a prac­tice able to involve and open itself up to mul­ti­ple, het­ero­ge­neous hyper-pro­le­tar­i­an sub­jects, root­ing itself in the ter­ri­to­ry pre­cise­ly in the moment when the lat­ter is infused by waves of glob­al­iza­tion.20

2.3 The processes of the industrialization of human activity and the hyper-proletariat: Alquati’s efforts to construct a new social science

Romano Alquati pos­sessed an extreme capac­i­ty to grasp moments of rup­ture, to the point of over­rid­ing all polit­i­cal or orga­ni­za­tion­al sen­si­bil­i­ties. This meant that, already by the ear­ly Sev­en­ties, he was look­ing beyond that peri­od, marked as it was by the high tide of the mass worker’s strug­gles. Instead, he sought to iden­ti­fy, in the process­es of the indus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of human activ­i­ty as such (evi­dent in incip­i­ent ter­tiariza­tion), the re-dis­lo­ca­tion of cap­i­tal­ist sub­sump­tion from the fac­to­ry towards “the social sphere.” His stud­ies of The Mid­dle-Class Uni­ver­si­ty and Intel­lec­tu­al Pro­le­tari­at date from this time, lay­ing the basis for sub­se­quent research con­cern­ing edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mass intel­lec­tu­al­i­ty, of ser­vices as a prod­uct of cap­i­tal, and the gen­er­al ques­tion of the com­mod­i­fied repro­duc­tion of liv­ing-human-capac­i­ty.21

This work addressed the end of one cycle of class com­po­si­tion, and the rise of a phase of cap­i­tal­ism that required a move beyond work­erist read­ings. Alquati’s thought con­front­ed the need to elab­o­rate new instru­ments – in part through a con­stant if iso­lat­ed dia­logue with great soci­ol­o­gists such as Alain Touraine and Zyg­munt Bau­man (in par­tic­u­lar, in the latter’s writ­ings on liq­uid moder­ni­ty) – at the height of what he would term hyper-indus­tri­al­isz­tion: in oth­er words, the unfold­ing effec­tive sub­sump­tion of the whole of human expe­ri­ence to social repro­duc­tion.

The key node was that of ambiva­lence: knowl­edges and activ­i­ties can be bent to the auton­o­my of sub­jects, or else they may be expro­pri­at­ed with­in the cod­i­fi­ca­tion of capital’s for­mal­ized tech­ni­cal-sci­en­tif­ic lan­guage. The ques­tion then becomes that of iden­ti­fy­ing the con­di­tions under which hyper-pro­le­tar­i­ans, social­ized by the flex­i­ble tech­no-machines of cap­i­tal­ist pro­duc­tion and repro­duc­tion, can open them­selves to an eman­ci­pa­to­ry prax­is. The study of human sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, detectable even with­in what seemed to be an “iron cage”, allowed Alquati to grasp the con­tin­u­al ambiva­lence of “inven­tion-pow­er,” long able to remain latent, only to emerge and burst out of the con­fines of soci­ety and labor in moments of cri­sis, ulti­mate­ly con­sti­tut­ing a fun­da­men­tal means of nour­ish­ing change.22 In the Eight­ies the themes of (hyper-)industrialization and ambiva­lence were addressed with­in mil­i­tant sem­i­nars that used the mass uni­ver­si­ty as a pos­si­ble place for the col­lec­tive pro­duc­tion of crit­i­cal knowl­edge – for­ma­tive years for those who would become his pupils.

The ques­tion of learn­ing and edu­ca­tion [for­mazione] remained cru­cial for Alquati, who devot­ed con­sid­er­able ener­gy to the top­ic with­in the Indus­tri­al Soci­ol­o­gy course that he taught until 2003 at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Turin. Accord­ing to Alquati, for­mazione by its vio­lence shapes, pro­duces, and trans­forms sub­jec­tiv­i­ty. In the face of Pow­er­point-size bites of infor­ma­tion, Alquati’s lessons were charged with a con­tin­u­al ten­sion that fol­lowed a con­cep­tu­al design that was both pre­cise yet nev­er com­plete­ly defined: “a kind of machine for think­ing the present, in order to give form to the ‘not yet’ and in order to attempt to imag­ine the ‘new.’”23 This entailed con­scious­ly acti­vat­ing process­es of inter­ac­tion and the col­lec­tive con­struc­tion of knowl­edge. Rather than remain­ing con­fined with­in the nar­row para­me­ters of indus­tri­al soci­ol­o­gy, this was some­thing he pro­ject­ed “into the heart of the mod­ern fac­to­ry, grad­u­al­ly touch­ing upon ques­tions of repro­duc­tion, con­sump­tion, for­ma­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”24 His knowl­edge, span­ning as it did a range of fields, was con­stant­ly stim­u­lat­ing. At the same time he fre­quent­ly treat­ed stu­dents as nascent researchers in their own right, capa­ble of demon­strat­ing com­mand over their capac­i­ties and “inven­tion-pow­er.” As Alquati him­self once assert­ed in an inter­view crit­i­cal of the university’s con­ven­tions regard­ing for­mazione, “Edu­ca­tion [didat­ti­ca] is a place where knowl­edge pro­duced else­where is dis­trib­uted. It’s like com­merce, it dis­trib­utes pre-made pro­ce­dur­al knowl­edges. And stu­dents like this! They don’t under­stand how impov­er­ished it is.”25

Romano Alquati’s final, unpub­lished writ­ings con­cern the process­es of the indus­tri­al­iza­tion of human activ­i­ty.26 These com­prise his rich­est, most dense and com­plex lega­cy, in which one can note how Alquati seeks “to relaunch the study of indus­tri­al soci­ety against a gen­er­al soci­ol­o­gy that today ‘removes the indus­tri­al­i­ty of activ­i­ty,’ pre­cise­ly [when] almost a fifth of human­i­ty finds itself immersed in indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion.”27 One char­ac­ter­is­tic of the present is the per­va­sive­ness of indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion, which impos­es itself thanks to extend­ed dis­ci­pli­nary process­es through which it is able to shape human capac­i­ties them­selves. This hyper-indus­tri­al­i­ty has not even spared knowl­edges and edu­ca­tion­al process­es with­in uni­ver­si­ties over the past thir­ty years.

In his text address­ing Today’s Indus­tri­al Soci­ety, Alquati also sub­jects Marx’s con­cept of soci­ety to cri­tique, pre­sent­ing his own def­i­n­i­tion of the cur­rent phase of hyper-indus­tri­al­iza­tion: “‘a weft of activity/labors in which (many) actors/workers are employed.’ Reg­u­lat­ed by a mix of mar­ket and hier­ar­chy (there­fore this is – amongst oth­er things – not a weft of rela­tions between per­sons).” The char­ac­ter­is­tic fea­ture of con­tem­po­rary soci­ety is the wage con­di­tion of inter­change­able indi­vid­u­als that mask them­selves “as indi­vid­u­als and as per­sons, to the point even of stim­u­lat­ing lit­tle false autonomies and exter­nal orig­i­nal­i­ties (at the sur­face lev­el).” In effect, Alquati stress­es how the trans­for­ma­tion of an indi­vid­ual into a “pre­sumed indi­vid­ual” is a char­ac­ter­is­tic typ­i­cal of an age that expels con­flict and the col­lec­tive from its dai­ly activ­i­ty: “indi­vid­u­a­tion is stronger (and freer) the more it finds a place with­in a strong and free col­lec­tive, at least one with tru­ly autonomous moments… The weak­er and emp­ti­er and more equal so-called indi­vid­u­als find them­selves, the more indi­vid­u­al­is­tic ide­ol­o­gy grows… There are more indi­vid­u­als when pro­le­tar­i­an strug­gles smash the con­strict­ing roles through which the sys­tem func­tions in an imme­di­ate sense [la chiusura bas­sa nei ruoli e gus­ci bassi di fun­zion­al­ità sis­tem­i­ca imme­di­ate], than in today’s obses­sive­ly ‘indi­vid­u­al­is­tic’ times.”28

Romano Alquati’s insis­tence on the analy­sis of forms of val­oriza­tion, and his atten­tion to what he defined as “cap­i­tal-means” – name­ly, the process­es of incor­po­ra­tion and sub­sump­tion – offer impor­tant inter­pre­ta­tive keys through which to read the recent devel­op­ments of cap­i­tal and the net­work econ­o­my as a meta-machine.29 As Alquati argued in his extend­ed trea­tise upon con­tem­po­rary indus­tri­al soci­ety, the “heart” of ambiva­lence lies in the very source of capital’s val­oriza­tion, with­in the dual char­ac­ter not only of labour, but of the labor­er her­self. Marx had believed that the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the dual nature of labor under capital’s reign was one of his most sig­nif­i­cant insights; lat­er, at the begin­ning of the work­erist adven­ture, Mario Tron­ti had seized upon this point to devel­op his hereti­cal asser­tion that “Labor must see labor-pow­er, as com­mod­i­ty, as its own ene­my… [so as] to decom­pose capital’s inti­mate nature into the poten­tial­ly antag­o­nis­tic parts which organ­i­cal­ly com­pose it.”30 It is fit­ting that in his final writ­ten reflec­tions upon cap­i­tal­ist soci­ety, Alquati should return direct­ly to these argu­ments of Marx and Tron­ti; not to remain behold­en to them, but instead to review, to revise, and to build upon them:

Work­ers on the one hand are the work­ing actors who acti­vate their roles by mak­ing large pieces – and there­fore more or less all – of the system’s inter­con­nec­tions func­tion. In doing so, they become aware [ril­e­va] of the ques­tion of the fetishism of cap­i­tal, its intan­gi­ble thing-ness etc. … But on the oth­er hand, I hypoth­e­sise that they can also refuse to do so and negate them­selves in this, mov­ing against them­selves – and doing all this with a cer­tain auton­o­my.31


Romano Alquati iden­ti­fied some of the fun­da­men­tal and coun­ter­in­tu­itive aspects of cur­rent forms of cap­i­tal­ist val­oriza­tion. Above all, his method of core­search con­tin­ues to be indis­pens­able. The exam­ple he has bequeathed is of a per­son who cer­tain­ly did not suc­cumb to the attrac­tions of their pro­fes­sion­al role, but rather con­tin­ued to under­take ways of research­ing “with-oth­ers.” His refusal to be part of, or to help form, “lead­ers” for the work­ing class allowed him to main­tain a prop­er dis­tance from offi­cial com­mu­nist cul­ture and tra­di­tion. As Ser­gio Bologna has empha­sized, he “was well aware that there are those able to express them­selves, those who have clear­er ideas than oth­ers, those who see fur­ther and those who do not.”32


Writings of Romano Alquati

  • ‘La fes­ta con­tad­i­na. Pescaro­lo: tran­sizione di una situ­azione agraria’, Pre­sen­za Octo­ber-Novem­ber 1958.
  • ‘Recen­sione di Comu­nis­mo e Cat­to­lices­i­mo in una par­roc­chia di Cam­pagna’ (di Lil­iano Faen­za), Milano, Fel­trinel­li’, Pre­sen­za 4/3, Jan­u­ary-March 1960.
  • ‘Relazione sulle “forze nuove”. Con­veg­no del Psi sul­la Fiat (gen­naio 1961)’, Quaderni Rossi 1, Sep­tem­ber 1961.
  • ‘Doc­u­men­ti sul­la lot­ta di classe alla Fiat’, Quaderni Rossi 1, Sep­tem­ber 1961.
  • ‘Tradizione e rin­no­va­men­to alla Fiat­Fer­riere’, Democrazia Diret­ta, Sep­tem­ber-Octo­ber 1961.
  • ‘Com­po­sizione organ­i­ca del cap­i­tale e forza lavoro alla Olivet­ti’, Quaderni Rossi 2, June 1962 and Quaderni Rossi 3, June 1963.
  • ‘Note sulle con­dizioni e lo svol­gi­men­to del­lo sciopero alla Fiat’, Cronache dei Quaderni Rossi 1, Sep­tem­ber 1962.
  • ‘Lot­ta alla Fiat’, Classe Opera­ia 1, Jan­u­ary 1964.
  • ‘Lotte operaie in Italia negli ulti­mi 20 anni’, Classe Opera­ia 4-5, May 1964.
  • ‘Ricer­ca sul­la strut­tura inter­na del­la classe opera­ia’, Classe Opera­ia 2/1, Jan­u­ary-Feb­ru­ary 1965.
  • ‘Tori­no il par­ti­to nel­la cit­tà fab­bri­ca’, Classe Opera­ia 2/3, May 1965.
  • ‘II par­ti­to nel­la “fab­bri­ca verde”: note sulle lotte operaie nel­la Padana Irrigua’, Classe Opera­ia 2/4-5 Octo­ber 1965.
  • ‘I mil­i­tan­ti comu­nisti tra fab­bri­ca e il par­ti­to’, Classe Opera­ia 3/1, May 1966.
  • ‘Schema di opus­co­lo sul­la Fiat’, Classe Opera­ia 3/3, March 1967.
  • ‘Cap­i­tale e classe opera­ia alla Fiat. Un pun­to medio nel ciclo inter­nazionale, Relazione al sem­i­nario sul­la com­po­sizione di classe pres­so il cen­tro Gio­van­ni Fran­covich a Firen­ze, 30 aprile 1 mag­gio 1967’.
  • Sin­da­ca­to e potere. Sem­i­nario di stu­di sul movi­men­to sin­da­cale. Aca­d­e­m­ic year 1971/72, Uni­ver­sità degli stu­di di Tori­no, Facoltà di Scien­ze politiche, Ind­i­riz­zo Soci­o­logi­co Grup­po di ricer­ca com­posed of R. Alquati, F. Bar­bano, S. Chi­ampar­i­no, M. Fer­rerò, M. Gugli­et­ti, N. Negri, M. Osso­la.
  • Sem­i­nario di stu­di sul movi­men­to sin­da­cale. Copis­te­ria Tar­ri­cone, Tori­no 1972.
  • Un proces­so di trasfor­mazione sociale, con par­ti­co­lare rifer­i­men­to al terziario in rap­por­to con il sin­da­ca­to, Tesi di Lau­rea. Super­vi­sor Fil­ip­po Bar­bano, Tori­no Facoltà di Scien­ze politiche, 1973, unpub­lished.
  • Sin­da­ca­to e Par­ti­to Antolo­gia di inter­ven­ti di sin­da­cal­isti sul rap­por­to fra sin­da­ca­to e sis­tema politi­co in Italia. Edi­zioni Stam­pa­tori, Tori­no 1974.
  • Sul­la FIAT e altri scrit­ti. Fel­trinel­li, Milano 1975.
  • ‘Terziario terziariz­zazione sin­da­ca­to’, Fogli di zona 1-2, May-June 1975.
  • ‘Note su ricom­po­sizione di classe e crisi del mer­ca­to del lavoro’, Quaderni del ter­ri­to­rio. La fab­bri­ca nel­la soci­età, 3 Celuc Lib­ri, Milano 1976.
  • ‘L’università e la for­mazione L’incorporamento del sapere sociale nel lavoro vivo mate­ri­ali e anal­isi del grup­po di ricer­ca oper­ante pres­so la facoltà di Scien­ze politiche di Tori­no’, Aut Aut 154, July-August 1976.
  • Uni­ver­sità di ceto medio e pro­le­tari­a­to intel­let­tuale (with N. Negri, A. Sor­mano), Stam­pa­tori Tori­no, 1978.
  • In for­mazione. Sem­i­nario sul tema For­mazione e qual­i­fi­cazione nell’Università di mas­sa, parte­ci­pan­ti: R. Alquati, L. Bal­bo, A. Cav­al­li, G. Chiaret­ti, A. Mar­tinel­li, G.Martinetti, F. Momigliano, G. Mas­sironi, I. Sipos, A. Sor­mano. Stam­pa­tori Tori­no 1978.
  • Il sin­da­ca­to nel­la dimen­sione regionale. (edit­ed  by P. Buran), Stam­pa­tori, Tori­no 1977.
  • ‘Osser­vazione su cul­tura memo­ria e sto­ria’, Ombre rosse 27/28, 1979.
  • ‘Cani e mor­ti, cani mor­ti, cani sci­olti; intel­let­tuali e ter­ror­is­mo rossi nel Bel Paese’, in R. Alquati, M. Boa­to, M, Cac­cia­ri, S, Rodotà, L. Violante, Ter­ror­is­mo ver­so la sec­on­da Repub­bli­ca? Stam­pa­tori, Tori­no, 1980.
  • Don­na, famiglia, servizi nel ter­ri­to­rio del­la Provin­cia di Cre­mona. V. I Dis­eg­no del­la ricer­ca; V. II Spazio popo­lazione lavoro; V. III II mutare del­la ripro­duzione, (with G. Lodi), Ammin­is­trazione Provin­ciale di Cre­mona, 1981.
  • ‘Lavoro vivo e lavoro mor­to oggi’, Polit­i­ca ed econo­mia 7-8, 1983.
  • Dis­pense di Soci­olo­gia Indus­tri­ale. Vol­ume 1 Pre­messe gen­er­ali Vol­ume 2 Civiltà con­tad­i­na e fase clas­si­ca del­la Civiltà cap­i­tal­is­ti­ca, Pho­to­copied, 1985-1988.
  • Dis­pense di Soci­olo­gia indus­tri­ale. Vol­ume 3, Tomo 1 e 2. Il Seg­nal­i­bro, Tori­no, 1989
  • ‘Rifor­ma dell’Università e indus­tri­al­iz­zazione dei saperi. Inter­vista del 28 dicem­bre 1989’, edit­ed by E. Armano in La Lente riv­ista stu­den­tesca 1 Tori­no 1990.
  • For­mazione ed impre­sa, Tran­script of an inter­ven­tion dur­ing the occu­pa­tion of the Uni­ver­sità di Tori­no, 1990’
  • ‘Sto­ri­ografia e movi­men­to del 77’. Inter­view by L. Per­rone, Tori­no, 1991.
  • Intro­duzione a un mod­el­lo sul­la for­mazione. Vol­ume IV. Tomo 1. Dis­pense di Soci­olo­gia indus­tri­ale. Il Seg­nal­i­bro, Tori­no, 1992.
  • Sul comu­ni­care. Il Seg­nal­i­bro, Tori­no, 1993.
  • Sacre icone. Le clas­si esistono anco­ra? Calus­ca Edi­zioni, Pado­va, 1993.
  • Per fare con­ricer­ca. Calus­ca Edi­zioni, Pado­va, 1993.
  • ‘For­mazione, comu­ni­cazione e certe icone sulle clas­si: tre lib­ri’, Bol­let­ti­no del nodo ECN di Tori­no, May 1993.
  • Sul Vir­tuale (with M. Pen­ten­ero, J. Wess­berg), Velleità Alter­na­tive, Tori­no, 1994.
  • Cul­tura for­mazione e ricer­ca. Velleità Alter­na­tive, Tori­no, 1994.
  • Cam­mi­nan­do per real­iz­zare un sog­no comune. Velleità Alter­na­tive, Tori­no, 1994.
  • Lavoro e attiv­ità. Per un anal­isi del­la schi­av­itù neo­mod­er­na. Man­i­festo lib­ri, Roma, 1994.
  • ‘Sin­te­si sul lavoro’, Derive e appro­di IV/12-13 1996.
  • ‘Inter­vista, aprile 1998’ (edit­ed by P. Ribel­la e G. Trot­ta), Bail­amme June 1999.
  • ‘Inter­vista, dicem­bre 2000’ (edit­ed by G. Borio, F. Pozzi, G. Rog­gero), in Futuro ante­ri­ore. Dai ‘Quaderni Rossi’ ai movi­men­ti glob­ali. Ric­chez­za e lim­i­ti dell’operaismo ital­iano. Derive & Appro­di, Roma, 2002.
  • Nel­la soci­età indus­tri­ale d’oggi, Work­ing Paper, unpub­lished, Tori­no, 2000/2003.
  • ‘Ricor­di del “sec­on­do operais­mo politi­co”, Con­ver­sazioni con Gigi Rog­gero’, unpub­lished, Tori­no, 2000.
  • Sul­la ripro­duzione del­la capac­ità umana vivente oggi. Work­ing Paper, unpub­lished, Tori­no, 2001/2003.


  1. We would like to thank Fer­ruc­cio Gam­bi­no for his help­ful com­ments. A day­long con­fer­ence was held on the fif­teenth of June 2011, organ­ised by com­rades, friends and col­leagues, togeth­er with the “Cantiere per l’autoformazione,” a body com­posed of under­grad­u­ate and doc­tor­al stu­dents at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Turin. 

  2. Inter­view with Romano Alquati in G. Borio, F. Pozzi, G. Rog­gero, Futuro Ante­ri­ore (Roma: Derive & Appro­di, 2002). 

  3. Ibid. 

  4. Ibid. Gio­van­ni Bot­taioli (1900-1959) was a left com­mu­nist work­ing class mil­i­tant, exiled in France dur­ing the fas­cist peri­od. After a long sojourn in Paris, he returned to Italy after the war and was a cen­tral fig­ure for many younger peo­ple who grew up in the Cre­mona area. 

  5. Inter­ven­tion at the Romano Alquati con­fer­ence, 2011. 

  6. Ser­gio, Bologna, “L’operaismo ital­iano” in Pier Pao­lo Pog­gio, ed., L’altronovecento. Comu­nis­mo ereti­co e pen­siero criti­co vol. 2, Il sis­tema e i movi­men­ti. Europa 1945-1989 (Milano: Jaca Book, 2011), 211. 

  7. As Rena­to Rozzi has recalled, despite an ini­ti­a­tion into Lenin­ism thanks to his expe­ri­ence with Mon­tal­di, Alquati nev­er joined a par­ty. Rather, as he affirmed in an inter­view: “It’s worth know­ing also that like many oth­ers of us, I nev­er suf­fered a major cri­sis at the begin­ning of the eight­ies, much less with the fall of the wall. But I expe­ri­enced a more pro­found cri­sis towards the mid­dle of the fifties, at the time of my first encounter with the Marx­ist and Social-Com­mu­nist reli­gion, which hap­pened while seek­ing a way out of cer­tain traps and labyrinth. The ques­tion of fetishism seemed to me as more neo-Com­mu­nist (for exam­ple in 1960) than as work­erist: there­fore, a crit­i­cal and exper­i­men­tal work­erism,” in Borio, Pozzi and Rog­gero, Futuro Ante­ri­ore.  

  8. Inter­view with Ser­gio Bologna in G. Borio, F. Pozzi, G. Rog­gero, Futuro Ante­ri­ore (Roma: Derive & Appro­di, 2002). 

  9. This and oth­er work­erist con­cep­tu­al tools are dis­cussed in Steve Wright, Storm­ing Heav­en: Class Com­po­si­tion and Strug­gle in Ital­ian Auton­o­mist Marx­ism (Lon­don: Plu­to Press, 2002). 

  10. Romano Alquati, Sul­la FIAT e altri scrit­ti (Fel­trinel­li, Milano 1975), 51. 

  11. Ibid., 113. 

  12. Mat­teo Pasquinel­li, “Cap­i­tal­is­mo mac­chini­co e plus­val­ore di rete: note sull’economia polit­i­ca del­la macchi­na di Tur­ing,” Novem­ber 17, 2011, 5. 

  13. Romano Alquati, Sul­la FIAT e altri scrit­ti, 114. 

  14. Ibid. 114, 83. 

  15. A lit­tle-known and hard-to-find text that demon­strates this deci­sive trait of Alquati’s for­ma­tion in an extra­or­di­nar­i­ly effi­ca­cious way is “La Fes­ta Con­tad­i­na. Pescaro­lo: tran­sizione di una situ­azione agraria,” Pre­sen­za Octo­ber-Novem­ber, 1958. 

  16. Inter­view with Romano Alquati in Borio, Pozzi and Rog­gero, Futuro Ante­ri­ore

  17. R. Alquati Cam­mi­nan­do per real­iz­zare un sog­no comune (Tori­no: Velleità Alter­na­tive, 1994), 127. 

  18. R. Alquati, Per fare con­ricer­ca (Pado­va: Calus­ca Edi­zioni, 1993). 

  19. R. Alquati, Cul­tura for­mazione e ricer­ca (Tori­no: Velleità Alter­na­tive, 1994), 37. 

  20. A new and inter­est­ing, if still lit­tle-known exam­ple, is the work of the Fox­conn Research Group, Jen­ny Chan and Ngai Pun, “Glob­al Cap­i­tal, the State, and Chi­nese Work­ers: The Fox­conn Expe­ri­ence,” Mod­ern Chi­na 38, 4 (2012): 383-410. See also G. Rog­gero and A. Zani­ni, eds., Genealo­gie del futuro. Sette Lezioni per sovver­tire il pre­sente (Bologna: Ombre Corte, 2012). 

  21. Alquati, Cul­tura for­mazione e ricer­ca. 

  22. Fer­ruc­cio Gam­bi­no, “Forza-inven­zione e forza-lavoro. Ipote­si,” altr­era­gioni 8, 1999, 147-151. 

  23. Inter­ven­tion of Mau­r­izio Pen­ten­ero at the Romano Alquati Con­fer­ence, 2011. 

  24. Ibid. 

  25. Inter­view with Romano Alquati in the stu­dent jour­nal La Lente, Turin, Jan­u­ary 1990. 

  26. In par­tic­u­lar, see Romano Alquati, “Nel­la soci­età indus­tri­ale d’oggi,” unpub­lished Work­ing Paper, 2000/2003. 

  27. Inter­ven­tion of Fer­ruc­cio Gam­bi­no at the Romano Alquati Con­fer­ence, 2011. 

  28. Romano Alquati, “Nel­la soci­età indus­tri­ale d’oggi,” unpub­lished Work­ing Paper, 2000/2003. 

  29. Mat­teo Pasquinel­li, “Cap­i­tal­is­mo mac­chini­co e plus­val­ore di rete,” 5. 

  30. Mario Tron­ti, Operai e cap­i­tale, (Turin: Ein­au­di, 1971), 56, 55. 

  31. Romano Alquati, Nel­la soci­età indus­tri­ale d’oggi, unpub­lished Work­ing Paper, 2000/2003. 

  32. Ser­gio Bologna, “Hom­mage a Romano Alquati,” 2010. 

Authors of the article

teaches Sociology of Labor at Padua University. His current research concerns a comparative study of Foxconn ICT factories in Europe and China.

has a PhD in Labour Studies from the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the State University of Milan. She collaborates in research into informational capitalism, knowledge work, flexibility and precariousness, with a social inquiry and coresearch methodological approach.

teaches information management at Monash University. His current research concerns the creation and use of the printed word by Italian workerists during the sixties and seventies.