Social Reproduction: New Questions for the Gender, Affect, and Substance of Value

Vishmidt, Marina and Sutherland, Zoe. 2020. Social Reproduction: New Questions for the Gender, Affect, and Substance of Value. In: Jennifer Cooke, ed. The New Feminist Literary Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 143-154. ISBN 9781108599504 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, there has been a resurgence of Marxist feminism, with many writers and activists engaged in assessing its theoretical and political adequacy for the present conjuncture. It is in this context that social reproduction theory has come to be a rallying point. Central to this theory is the claim that the sustenance of life and human relationships, whether or not it is recognised as (waged) labour, is fully integral to capitalism as a mode of production. For many feminists, this sustenance is understood more specifically as the reproduction of labour-power. Social reproduction theory positions gender, and gendered labour, as central to the reproduction of the capitalist mode of production. It thus follows historic trends in Marxist feminism which analysed the structural role of social distinctions such as gender or race in capitalism, rather than seeing them as ‘superstructural’ (ideological or cultural) phenomena.

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Book Section

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This material has been published in revised form in The New Feminist Literary Studies edited by Jennifer Cooke []. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © Cambridge University Press 2020.


social reproduction, value, domestic labour, gender, capital, totality, Marxist feminism, intersectionality, ontology

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Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


November 2019Accepted
16 November 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

04 Apr 2022 13:25

Last Modified:

05 Apr 2022 04:56


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