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“Social Reproduction Theory,” Social Reproduction, and Household Production

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1521/siso.2019.83.4.451

In redefining social reproduction to mean only the reproduction of labor-power, Social Reproduction Theory has deemphasized a central insight of Marxist feminism — the necessary role that household production plays in the reproduction of capitalist society. A model of production in capitalism — in which households, capitalist firms, and the state rely on inputs from the other sectors in their production process to perpetuate their own existences and in turn that of capitalist society as a whole — shows that it is necessary to tie the household and household production to the dynamics of production and reproduction in capitalist society. There is no social reproduction without “societal reproduction,” as all production and reproduction in capitalist society are shaped by accumulation. Thus, promoting human and environmental well-being requires fundamentally changing the production processes that take place in households and elsewhere, not merely redistributing the costs and benefits of that production.

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