Women, the Family, and Social Reproduction

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

What role does the family play under capitalism? Generations of Marxists have argued that its prime function is to raise, at no cost to the employers, the next generation of wage workers. Thinkers like Lise Vogel, drawing from Marx’s discussion of the "reproduction of labor power" in Capital, have developed this insight further, showing how “social reproduction” involves all of the factors—from childbirth and child rearing, the care and maintenance of workers and those unable to work, to education and social services—that ensure the maintenance of the capitalist system of production as a whole. This talk will discuss the role that (typically unpaid) domestic labor, primarily of women, plays in the capitalist economy.

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