For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Love Labour as a Distinct and Non-Commodifiable Form of Care Labour"

by Lynch, Kathleen (2007)


This paper examines the nature of love labouring and explores how it can be distinguished from other forms of care work. It provides a three fold taxonomy for analysing other-centred work, distinguishing between work required to maintain primary care relations (love labour), secondary care relations (general care work) and tertiary care relations (solidarity work). A central theme of the paper is that primary care relations are not sustainable over time without love labour; that the realization of love, as opposed to the declaration of love, requires work. Drawing on a wide range of theoretical and empirical sources, including a study of caring undertaken by the author, the paper argues that there is mutuality, commitment, trust and responsibility at the heart of love labouring that makes it distinct from general care work and solidarity work. It sets out reasons why it is not possible to commodify the feelings, intentions and commitments of love labourers to supply them on a paid basis.

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Care Work

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