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Arthur Scarritt, “Extractive Labor: A Lethal Legacy of Racialized Colonial Rule”

How and why does colonial domination kill off the very labor it depends on? While settler colonial studies provide one of the only theorizations of the systemic elimination of populations, they see it as antithetical to labor exploitation, and thus cannot answer this question. I therefore build on recent critiques of settler colonial studies to develop the concept of racialized extractive labor regimes: race marking labor as disposable, as realizing value through expending workers’ lives. I then articulate these dynamics through a comparison of the highly divergent cases of early colonialism in Peru and what is now the United States, first across initial settlement and then as they shifted to racialization decades later. While settler colonial studies emphasize land acquisition as colonialism’s defining feature, my comparison reveals that elites’ drive for indelible inequality actually shapes colonial projects. And in order to maintain their vaunted positions, elites ultimately construct racialized extractive labor regimes that predicate their domination on the regularized elimination of racialized Others. This analysis therein provides new insights into the elitist nature of colonialism and the logics of elimination and racialization through which it runs.

Here is the link: “Extractive Labor: A Lethal Legacy of Racialized Colonial Rule”