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Social Reproduction, Surplus Populations and the Role of Migrant Women

Social Reproduction, Surplus Populations and the Role of Migrant Women

When we con­sid­er the ques­tion of sur­plus pop­u­la­tions from the point of view of the fem­i­nist lit­er­a­ture on social repro­duc­tion, we see that migrant women do not con­sti­tute a sur­plus pop­u­la­tion in Europe, but rather a “reg­u­lar army,” which is total­ly nec­es­sary to cap­i­tal­ist pro­duc­tion. While the wide­spread debate around sur­plus pop­u­la­tions right­ly high­lights unem­ploy­ment as a cause of migra­tion, it runs the ana­lyt­i­cal and polit­i­cal risk of obscur­ing the fact that most migrant women do not take the jobs of oth­ers, and are waged rather than “super­flu­ous” in their coun­tries of arrival since much of the social­ly repro­duc­tive activ­i­ty in the Glob­al North has become com­mod­i­fied.

Mapping the Terrain of Struggle: Autonomous Movements in 1970s Italy

Mapping the Terrain of Struggle: Autonomous Movements in 1970s Italy

In some ways, our renewed focus on social repro­duc­tion shares inter­est­ing par­al­lels with the “Ital­ian Rev­o­lu­tion” of 1968-1980, the most rad­i­cal upheaval in post­war West­ern Europe. For while orig­i­nal­ly firm­ly anchored to the strug­gles of the fac­to­ry pro­le­tari­at, many move­ments began to wage a mul­ti­tude of strug­gles beyond the point of pro­duc­tion, devel­op­ing class pow­er on what was called the ter­rain of social repro­duc­tion.