Spaces of social reproduction (1/3)

Donnerstag (21. September 2023), 09:00–10:30
HZ 12
Eva Isselstein (Universität Bayreuth)
Dimitra Spanou (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)
Drawing on feminist literature, this session discusses how social reproduction is (re-/de-) organized and what kind of spatialities are produced.

Abstract der Sitzung

What about social reproduction?

In recent years, we have witnessed countless struggles around questions of social reproduction across the world. These struggles reveal the multiple and intersecting crises we are currently experiencing, from the economic crash in 2008 and the implementation of neoliberal austerity, to the recent global pandemic and the ongoing climate catastrophe, to name just a few. Each of these crises are bound up with social reproduction and its spatial organisation in manifold ways. By social reproduction we mean various kinds of work – mental, manual, and emotional – necessary to sustain and reproduce life, our communities and labour power on a daily basis and intergenerationally. These activities form a continuum with what is recognised as productive work. In face of the mentioned crises, this nexus of production and social reproduction is being transformed, in ways that are altering the lives of the different subjects involved, from workers to recipients. Furthermore, the spatial organisation of reproduction is also reconfigured as it is reallocated between the state, the private sector, the civil society and nuclear families. The various sites include public institutions, neighbourhoods and local communities, and individual households.

Despite its essential importance, social reproduction remains underdiscussed in human geography, reflecting the broader systematic devaluation of this work economically and socially. We are therefore looking for contributions that foreground social reproduction, asking how it is organised and what kinds of spatialities are produced. Some potential topics are: where does social reproduction take place, from hospitals to community kitchens, and from yoga retreats to retirement homes? How does the spatial organisation of this kind of work change? Who is caring and who is being cared for? What are their experiences, challenges and emotions? How does social reproduction change due to transformations in the organization of production, and how exactly do the tasks shift between sites and actors? How do struggles address issues of social reproduction?