How should we look at social reproduction? It has been about 35 years since the publication of The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital, and the world has radically changed since then. 1 Society has changed faster than our capacity to re-forge the theoretical and methodological toolbox at our disposal. It is time to ask: what is happening… Read more →
Although the Wages for Housework campaign was launched at the very beginning of the 1970s, it was not until 1978 that Carol Leigh, an American sex worker and feminist activist, coined the term “sex work.” And if the claim for “Wages for Housework” might not have the same relevance today now that a large part of domestic work has been commodified – former housewives who have entered the labor market have partly delegated this work to poorer women, especially migrant women – the claim that “sex work is work,” considering the active and often heated discussions it generates, seems more important than ever in our contemporary moment.
Vint Cerf, co-designer of the internet’s basic architecture and a vice president for research with Google, recently sounded the alarm about “bit rot” or the degradation of data files. He warns that we’re facing a “forgotten century” of historical documentation because we lack the computer software and hardware necessary to read obsolete computer files. 1 Reflect on what this means… Read more →
Over the whole land, Negro women meet this triple exploitation – as workers, as women, and as Negroes. About 85 per cent of all Negro women workers are domestics, two-thirds of the two million domestic workers in the United States. In smaller numbers they are found in other forms of personal service. Other employment open to them is confined mainly to laundries and the tobacco factories of Virginia and the Carolinas, where working conditions are deplorable.
In Latin America, the perspectives of popular economy and social economy have challenged the individualist paradigm, focusing on the satisfaction of collective needs. Their conceptual developments result from the region’s particular context and history, thereby breaking with the universalist pretensions of orthodox economics and revealing the historical character of economic processes as well as the heterogeneity of its practices.
Negro women often have to face discrimination and prejudice in addition to the problems which domestic workers as a whole must face. Since Negro women continue to be employed in domestic work in large numbers, this study is concerned with a consideration of their problems and their attempts at unionization.
In conventional Marxist analyses, labor-power is simply presumed to be present – a given factor of capitalist production. At best, it is understood as the product of natural, biologically determined, regenerative processes. In socializing labor-power – in unearthing its insertion in history, society, and culture – social reproduction feminism reveals, in the first instance, that labor-power cannot simply be presumed to exist, but is made available to capital only because of its reproduction in and through a particular set of gendered and sexualized social relations that exist beyond the direct labor/capital relation, in the so-called private sphere.
This text is not a public announcement, but rather a means of signifying the times of injustice inscribed in our bodies, experiences, and relations, that is the anthropology produced by neoliberalism into our daily lives. We are convinced that feminism can offer tools for everyone, opening new perspectives, starting from ourselves but moving towards a grand scale. Feminism as only… Read more →
This polarized opposition between housework and prostitution—the division Ambedkar reinforced—is still underexplored in Marxist feminist thinking on reproduction. Prabha Kotiswaran argues that the debates on domestic work in the 1970s “lacked a theory of sex” — they established prostitution as part of gendered circuits of reproduction, but had little to say on its relationship to (or difference from) housework. Prostitution, at best, was vaguely folded into other forms of housework—all marriages were also relationships of prostitution, or else prostitution filled the sexual deficits within marriage — but not analyzed as a form of labor with analytically distinct features.
In the last decade, especially after the 2008 financial crisis, the urban centers of the Midwest such as Chicago and Detroit, but also in the Northeast, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, have developed a new dynamic: the use of the state (in the form of local or regional governments) to transfer infrastructural resources and their control out of or away from marginalized urban populations, which are predominantly black, brown, and immigrant.