(Re)producing a dignified life. An exploration of the production and negotiation of classed and gendered subjectivities through reproductive practices among pobladora women in Chile

Álvarez-López, Valentina. 2018. (Re)producing a dignified life. An exploration of the production and negotiation of classed and gendered subjectivities through reproductive practices among pobladora women in Chile. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is an ethnographic exploration of the ways in which throughout their lives, mature and elderly pobladora women – women who live in working-class neighbourhoods in Chile – have negotiated classed and gendered positions through practices of social reproduction. It asks: How have pobladora women produced their gendered and classed subjectivities through practices of social reproduction in their positions as mothers, homemakers and/or wives? This research examines the values and the value that pobladora women have attached to the practices that ensure the social reproduction of their households, as well as the work of community organisations that respond to concrete reproductive needs. This, in light of historical configurations of gender and class in Chile.

This work draws on more than ten months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2014 and 2017 in a working-class neighbourhood called Nuevo Amanecer, whose past and present are critical for the aims of this research. Ethnography with a feminist perspective has been used as both a method for gathering data and a form of writing, including a strong historical component.

The main contribution of this thesis is that, through ethnography, it offers a bridge between different perspectives and theoretical frameworks on class between materialist – in particular Social Reproduction Theory (SRT) – and symbolic/moral approaches to class, which have often been seen as divergent. It also contributes to SRT by stressing the relevance of subjectivity to an understanding of processes of capitalist accumulation and the gendered organisation of social production/reproduction. Furthermore, by providing a more nuanced and less moralised understanding of the effects of class in women’s subjectivities in relation to wage work and care labour than that provided by mainstream feminist approaches, this thesis provides new insights to understand the persistence of social reproduction as gendered labour. It argues that, through the labours of social reproduction, pobladora women have waged symbolic struggles that position themselves and their families as dignified – classed and gendered – subjects.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00026358

Keywords:

Social reproduction, gender, domestic labour, class, morality, Latin America.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Date:

30 September 2018

Item ID:

26358

Date Deposited:

22 May 2019 13:57

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 20:36

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/26358

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