Fraser, Nancy, and Rahel Jaeggi. Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory. Polity, 2018 (Verso, 2023).
social reproduction as “the creation, socialization, and subjectivation of human beings more generally, in all their aspects. It also includes the making and remaking of culture, of the various swaths of intersubjectivity that human beings inhabit – the solidarities, social meanings, and value horizons in and through which they live and breathe.” (32)
Historically, the split between “productive” waged labor and “reproductive” unwaged labor has underpinned modern capitalist forms of women’s subordination. (33)
all capitalist societies entrench a tendency to social-reproductive crisis – over and above the tendency to economic crisis theorized by Marx. ... this strand of crisis is grounded in a structural contradiction – in the fact that the capitalist economy simultaneously relies on and tends to destabilize its own social-reproductive conditions of possibility. (35)
The structure of social reproduction in relation to capitalism is division, dependence, and disavowal (154).
social reproduction activities are situated in relation to capitalism’s constitutive institutional separations. In which institutional arenas of society are these activities located? Are they situated primarily in households or neighborhoods or extended kinship networks? Are they commodified or organized or regulated by states? And how are the people who engage in social-reproductive activities positioned: as family members, as paid domestics working in private households, as employees of profit-making firms, as community activists or “volunteers” in civil-society associations, as salaried civil servants? For each phase of capitalism, these questions receive different answers, and the boundary between social reproduction and production is differently drawn. And because of that, the social contradiction of capitalist society takes a different form in each phase, as do the struggles surrounding it. (82)
There is the trend, over the longue durée, to reduce household size, to nuclearize the family, to construct it as a unit specializing in social reproduction, to emphasize gender difference, and to cast reproduction as women’s work. All of that flows from capitalism’s institutional separation of production from reproduction. Insofar as it constitutes reproduction as a female-centered hidden abode that enables accumulation by replenishing labor, capitalism creates “the family” as the complementary counterpart to “the market.” (88)