For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Why Are Men Doing Floral Sex Work? Gender, Cultural Reproduction, and the Feminization of Agriculture"

by Ramamurthy, Priti (2010)


Abstract Hybrid cottonseed production is a major site for the feminization of agriculture in India. A central argument of this article is that the feminization of agriculture is an index of the changing relationship between labor and capital. By gendering agricultural work and analyzing the feminization of the conditions of this work, I widen the framework for theorizing feminization. Based on ethnographic research, I demonstrate how feminization is related to reconfigurations of global and Indian capital in the cottonseed industry. I argue that the relationship between capital and labor is, but is not only, a skewed economic relationship; it is simultaneously a series of culturally meaningful interactions that suture labor and smallholder household strategies of survival to the social reproduction of capitalism in contemporary agriculture. The essay makes four contributions: it differentiates biological reproduction from the social reproduction of labor and of capital; it recognizes cultural production and heeds the selective processes through which some limiting forms?gender, age, and caste?get culturally reproduced to become the subjective conditions for the creation and circulation of value; it is attentive to gender as symbolic power, even when not humanly embodied; and it considers affect in the everyday living of relations between labor and capital.

Key Passage



Agriculture, Gendered Labour, Social Reproduction, India, Capitalism


Women and Work

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