Social Reproduction within and beyond Production

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Fogg Lecture Theatre

G.E. Fogg Building

Mile End Road

London

E1 4DQ

United Kingdom

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A workshop on social reproduction featuring:

  • Stefania Barca

  • Gargi Bhattacharyya

  • Alessandra Mezzadri

  • Silvia Federici

  • Bridget O'Laughlin

  • Clair Quentin

  • Sigrid Vertommen

Organisers:

Elena Baglioni, School of Business and Management, QMUL
Clair Quentin, School of Business and Management, QMUL
Hannah Schling, Geography Department, King’s College London

SOCIAL REPRODUCTION WITHIN AND BEYOND PRODUCTION: Old and new challenges for the analysis of work and workers in 21th century

Social reproduction is back and at the forefront of feminist political economy, feminist political organizing, and beyond. More analyses of contemporary globalised capitalism are including social reproduction upstream and downstream of production as an integral dimension of both the production and distribution of value. Tradition consistently draws from the path breaking works and debates in the 1970s and 1980s but much has changed in contemporary capitalism where capitalist social relations of production have spread more widely and deeply across the globe. The commodification of new areas, spheres, and workers proceeds by simultaneously intensifying, changing, and restructuring gender and race as fundamental disciplinary systems that both sustain the production of commodities and the reproduction of workers, while the value they produce is obscured by ever more complex formations within global production networks.

In this comeback, social reproduction acquires new and old meanings, uneasily juggling the reproduction of labour on the one hand and the reproduction of capitalist relations on the other, and finding new threads along the way to link the two. Despite its internal diversity and ambiguities, its agenda puts work and workers back at the heart of the analysis of capitalism. By de-fetishizing both the production of commodities and the reproduction of labour and re-constituting them as capitalist processes and projects, social reproduction analysis (SRA) de-naturalises and problematizes the most fundamental categories - like work, home, gender, nature, and value – permeating our everyday analyses. Through this work, SRA seems to question the fundamental divides and binary thinking permeating much critical political economy, including the distinction between production and reproduction as value-producing and non-value-producing domains. Both analytically and politically then, social reproduction analysis provides an opportunity to shift the pendulum back to labour, in all its different phenomenal manifestations and goals.

To advance the theoretical and political agenda of SRA, the workshop engages with some key questions that are animating old and new debates:

Can we rethink the distinction between value producing and non-value producing activities? Does this matter theoretically and politically? I.e. at what level of abstraction this divide is appropriate and how does this manifest concretely? Indeed, what does it mean for the gendered and racialised worker to be within different points in the circuit of capital or at its margins?

How does the gendering and racialisation of labour operate through relations of social reproduction? And how does (re)production of labouring subjects operate as a structural feature of labour regimes?

How can the working class overcome its own internal spatial, gendered, and race structural divisions? How can social reproduction be a terrain for class struggle today? I.e. how can it jeopardise capital?

How can SRA integrate ecology beyond the analytically pervasive coupling of women and nature?


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Location

Fogg Lecture Theatre

G.E. Fogg Building

Mile End Road

London

E1 4DQ

United Kingdom

View Map

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