Postcapitalism? Five Orientations from the Perspective of Social Reproduction

Maiconfz, CC0 1.0

Where austerity, recession and ‘regressive recovery’[1] occur, the experience of economic crisis is as a crisis of social reproduction, a crisis in the reproduction of livelihood.[2] This crisis is both gendered and racialised in just who picks up the tab for cuts to social services or a rise in unemployment.[3] Given the contradiction between capital’s reliance on the reproduction of labour power on the one hand, and its propensity to externalise the cost of this reproduction on the other, any particular social organisation of reproduction is shaped by struggle. Who bears the cost of social reproduction and how it is organised are political questions circumscribed by the ways in which reproductive labour moves between households, communities, state institutions and business organisations, and where individual reproductive activities are located along a paid and unpaid continuum. Feminism has challenged the gendered and racialised social division of this labour and demanded that the unpaid work of social reproduction be acknowledged.[4] Continue reading