Beyond the Coronavirus: Understanding Crises of Social Reproduction

Abstract

From a feminist political economy perspective, the unfolding of the Coronavirus is a further reminder of the fundamental contradiction between a capitalist system that prioritizes profits, and a feminist ethic that prioritizes life-making or social reproduction. This paper argues for a more systematic understanding of crises of social reproduction under capitalism, stressing the difference between such crises for labour, and those for capital. The Coronavirus crisis represents an extraordinary example of a crisis of social reproduction for capital, but this paper examines crises of social reproduction for capital and labour that arise from the more ordinary workings of capitalism. The paper focusses on the unfolding of such crises in the global South, using the case of India to illustrate the usefulness of such an analysis.

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