Social reproduction, women's labour and systems of life a conversation

Luisa Lupo
Asanda BENYA
Alessandra MEZZADRI
Elisabeth PRüGL

This conversation brings together feminist scholars from various backgrounds and epistemological traditions around a central topic in feminist debates that is today more relevant than ever, social reproduction. It begins by examining social reproduction as a concept and its entanglements with the dynamics of global capitalism from human geography and feminist international political economy perspectives. We ask, what does the lens of social reproduction bring to light? We discuss how social reproduction is a fundamentally political concept that bridges classic labour struggles with demands around housing, service provision and the reproduction of life in general. As a concept, it makes visible the systems of life that support the labour process, both daily and intergenerationally, in sites of production along global supply chains, from the garment industry, to mining and agriculture. Nevertheless, there is a need to consider how gendered dichotomies of productive and reproductive that underpin its modern origin may or may not undermine this concept and to rethink how, ultimately, we organise around social reproductive struggles. The conversation took place in June 2022 and has been edited for clarity.