For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

References for Theme: Feminist Critiques of Work Centrality

  • Berk, Sarah Fenstermaker
    • The Gender Factory: The Apportionment of Work in American Households (1985)
      "The imperatives posed by the production of gender relations mean that the division of household labor not only is concerned with the rational sorting and optimal matching of tasks and time household members, but is also centered on the symbolic affirmation of the members or their 'alignment' with each other as husband and wife, man and woman, brother and sister. Nevertheless, how much is gender, and how much is work is hardly the question. Instead, it is clear that, as gender and work are 'done,' already-existing patterns of both are ratified by household members." p. 206
  • Bezanson, Kate; Luxton, Meg
    • Social Reproduction: Feminist Political Economy Challenges Neo-Liberalism (2006)
      "Social reproduction, when valued by the market, is gendered, often racialized, and poorly remunerated. Where states no longer provided support and where purchasing services on the market was not feasible, the burden of providing additional care and work fell onto families, especially women. In Ontario under the Conservatives (1995-2003), this familializing and individualizing thrust was underlined by a rhetoric about family values and a nostalgic idealization of motherhood and community. As material supports for communities and families were cut, this family ideology blamed families--and mothers in particular--for failing to take responsibility for their members." p. 6
  • Boydston, Jeanne
  • Costa, Mariarosa Dalla
    • "Domestic Labour and the Feminist Movement in Italy since the 1970s" (1988)
      “Today we have once more reached a significant moment for women's work and the rejection of it. On the one hand, there is a confirmation of the trend towards rejection of the unpaid labour of reproduction in favour of an increasingly extensive availability for the market in waged labour. At the same time, not only has there been no significant revival of the birth or marriage rate, but the increase in the female workforce between 1977 and 1982 was almost double that among men: a rise of 872,000 for women, compared with 469,000 for men.” p. 31
  • Dalla Costa, Mariarosa; James, Selma
    • The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community (1973)
      "Never as with the advent of capitalism has the destruction of woman as a person meant also the immediate diminution of her physical integrity. Feminine and masculine sexuality had already before capitalism undergone a series of regimes and forms of conditioning. But they had also undergone efficient methods of birth control, which have unaccountably disappeared. Capital established the family as the nuclear family and subordinated within it the woman to the man, as the person who, not directly participating in social produciton, does not present herself independently on the labor market. As it cuts off all her possibilities of creativity...
  • Edmond, Wendy; Fleming, Suzie
  • Ehrenreich, Barbara; English, Deirdre
  • Elson, Diane
  • English, Deidre; Epstein, Barbara; Haber, Barbara; MacLean, Judy
  • Federici, Silvia
  • Folbre, Nancy
  • Fraser, Nancy
  • Shiva, Vandana; Mies, Maria
  • Weeks, Kathi
    • "The Refusal of Work as Demand and Perspective" (2005)
    • The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries (2011)
    • The Problem with Work (2011)
      (p.12) Let me be clear: to call these traditional work values into question is not to claim that work is without value. It is not to deny the necessity of productive activity or to dismiss the likelihood that, as William Morris describes it, there might be for all living things "a pleasure in the exercise of their energies" (1999, 129). It is, rather, to insist that there are other ways to organize and distribute that activity and to remind us that it is also possible to be creative outside the boundaries of work. It is to suggest that there might be a variety of ways to experience the...
    • The Problem with Work (2011)
      (p.14) In this book, the label "work" will refer to productive cooperation organized around, but not necessarily confined to, the privileged model of waged labor. What counts as work, which forms of productive activity will be included and how each will be valued, are a matter of historical dispute. Certainly the questions of whether or not various forms of productive activity - including some unwaged forms - will be recognized as workand at what rate they will be compensated have long been at the forefront of class, race, and gender struggles in and beyond the United States.
    • The Problem with Work (2011)
      (p.28) What I am in search of is a conception of social reproduction - of what it is we might organize around - that can pose the full measure of its antagonism with the exigencies of capital accumulation, a biopolitical model of social reproduction less readily transformed into new forms of work and thus less easily recuperated within the present terms of the work society.
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