Issue

Social Reproduction, Surplus Populations and the Role of Migrant Women

Social Reproduction, Surplus Populations and the Role of Migrant Women

When we con­sider the ques­tion of sur­plus pop­u­la­tions from the point of view of the fem­i­nist lit­er­a­ture on social repro­duc­tion, we see that migrant women do not con­sti­tute a sur­plus pop­u­la­tion in Europe, but rather a “reg­u­lar army,” which is totally nec­es­sary to cap­i­tal­ist pro­duc­tion. While the wide­spread debate around sur­plus pop­u­la­tions rightly high­lights unem­ploy­ment as a cause of migra­tion, it runs the ana­lyt­i­cal and polit­i­cal risk of obscur­ing the fact that most migrant women do not take the jobs of oth­ers, and are waged rather than “super­flu­ous” in their coun­tries of arrival since much of the socially repro­duc­tive activ­ity in the Global North has become com­mod­i­fied.

Mapping the Terrain of Struggle: Autonomous Movements in 1970s Italy

Mapping the Terrain of Struggle: Autonomous Movements in 1970s Italy

In some ways, our renewed focus on social repro­duc­tion shares inter­est­ing par­al­lels with the “Ital­ian Rev­o­lu­tion” of 1968-1980, the most rad­i­cal upheaval in post­war West­ern Europe. For while orig­i­nally firmly anchored to the strug­gles of the fac­tory pro­le­tariat, many move­ments began to wage a mul­ti­tude of strug­gles beyond the point of pro­duc­tion, devel­op­ing class power on what was called the ter­rain of social repro­duc­tion.

Leaving Home: Slavery and the Politics of Reproduction

Leaving Home: Slavery and the Politics of Reproduction

In fact, from one point of view, we can­not unravel one female’s nar­ra­tive from the other’s, can­not deci­pher one with­out trip­ping over the other - Hort­ense Spillers1 We had dri­ven straight through from Bris­bane to Syd­ney, a nine-hour drive with your foot flat to the floor. We were on our way to a rad­i­cal stu­dent con­fer­ence, it was the very… Read more → 

Bringing the Vanguard Home: Revisiting the Black Panther Party's Sites of Class Struggle

Bringing the Vanguard Home: Revisiting the Black Panther Party’s Sites of Class Struggle

By the sum­mer of 1968, less than two years after its incep­tion, Oak­land, California’s Black Pan­ther Party was run­ning out of space. Signs of the Black Power organization’s rapid growth were espe­cially evi­dent at its Grove Street office, which by this time, was “bust­ing out at the seams,” with “piles of newslet­ters, leaflets, but­tons, [and] flags” over­flow­ing into mem­bers’ homes.1… Read more → 

The Productive Subject

The Productive Subject

What could have inter­ested Fou­cault in the pas­sages from Cap­i­tal, to the degree that he presents them as sources for a pos­i­tive study of power, rooted in the devel­op­ment of the econ­omy and its “forces?” We would like to clar­ify this point by return­ing to Marx’s text, which Foucault’s sug­ges­tion prompts us to read in a man­ner that might be called “symp­to­matic,” since it is not at all obvi­ous, at first glance, how one might derive the prin­ci­ples for an analy­sis of “power” which is at best implicit in Cap­i­tal, hov­er­ing in the back­ground.

Surplus Population, Social Reproduction, and the Problem of Class Formation

Surplus Population, Social Reproduction, and the Problem of Class Formation

Today, few uphold the old belief that wage labor will grad­u­ally expand to cover the major­ity of the worlds’ pop­u­la­tion. Once, this was the con­di­tion of the his­tor­i­cal belief that cap­i­tal­ism would cre­ate the con­di­tions under which wage labor could be orga­nized as a global power to match cap­i­tal. Instead another tele­ol­ogy has appeared, claim­ing that cap­i­tal­ist devel­op­ment entails work­ing class dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion. Rather than a nar­ra­tive of pro­gress, this is a nar­ra­tive of decline, of pre­car­ity, infor­mal­iza­tion, and immis­er­a­tion.

Precarious Intimacies: The European Border Regime and Migrant Sex Work

Precarious Intimacies: The European Border Regime and Migrant Sex Work

This focus on the bor­der regime allows for an under­stand­ing of how it pro­duces peo­ple resid­ing within a nation-state with dif­fer­en­tial rights, dif­fer­en­tial access to the labor mar­ket, and vari­able access to the ser­vices of the state. These dif­fer­en­tial rights have a struc­tural role in the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion of the com­mer­cial sex sec­tor, as well as in deter­min­ing how migrants use inti­macy in their migra­tion processes. How­ever, through another optic, inti­macy and inti­mate rela­tions can be viewed as resources – as work­able and effec­tive strate­gies – in these women’s aspi­ra­tions to cre­ate more sat­is­fac­tory and inde­pen­dent lives from their posi­tion of struc­tural dis­ad­van­tage.

Introduction to the Archive of Feminist Struggle for wages for housework. Donation by Mariarosa Dalla Costa

Introduction to the Archive of Feminist Struggle for wages for housework. Donation by Mariarosa Dalla Costa

This text intro­duces the Archivio di Lotta Fem­min­ista per il salario al lavoro domes­tico, which con­tains a wealth of mate­rial col­lected from the 1970s to the present, all gra­ciously donated by Mari­arosa Dalla Costa after years of work as a mil­i­tant in the Fem­i­nist Move­ment and as a scholar of the con­di­tion of women. The archive, based in Padua, Italy, col­lects a broad range of inven­to­ried mate­rial from a strand of the Fem­i­nist Move­ment which, in Italy, first called itself Movi­mento di Lotta Fem­minile (Women’s Strug­gle Move­ment), then later Lotta Fem­min­ista (Fem­i­nist Strug­gle) and finally Movi­mento dei Gruppi e Comi­tati per il Salario al Lavoro Domes­tico (Move­ment of Groups and Com­mit­tees for Wages for House­work).

Collective Spaces

Collective Spaces

My inten­tion is to talk about social repro­duc­tion in the con­text of a speci­fic social envi­ron­ment. Social repro­duc­tion ver­sus the repro­duc­tion of indi­vid­u­als, pub­lic ver­sus pri­vate, manip­u­lated and reg­u­lated ver­sus free and autonomous, frus­tra­tion and soli­tude ver­sus joy­ous coop­er­a­tion.

Reproducing the Struggle: A New Feminist Perspective on the Concept of Social Reproduction

Reproducing the Struggle: A New Feminist Perspective on the Concept of Social Reproduction

I believe that inti­macy, together with other social and intel­lec­tual prac­tices that are nec­es­sary for the repro­duc­tion of our col­lec­tiv­ity, is being appro­pri­ated today by the cap­i­tal­ist machine and, in the same move­ment, trans­ferred from the col­lec­tive sphere to that of the nuclear unit and from the sphere of repro­duc­tion to that of the mar­ket econ­omy.