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social reproduction


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The processes through which the fundamental structures and relations of society continually recreate the existing mode of production—a mode in which the structures of dominance of one group over another are maintained (Althusser (1971) cited in Mitchell et al. (2003) Antipode 35, 3). Katz (2001, Antipode 33, 4) writes that ‘social reproduction is the fleshy, messy, and indeterminate stuff of everyday life…secured through a shifting constellation of sources encompassed within the broad categories of the state, the household, capital, and civil society…It is also a set of structured practices that unfold in dialectical relation with production, with which it is mutually constitutive and in tension…the production and reproduction of the labour force calls forth a range of cultural forms and practices that are also geographically and historically specific, including those associated with knowledge and learning, social justice and its apparatus, and the media.’

‘Distinctive national, regional and local patterns in the ways in which men and women divide paid labour and caring work result in an uneven geography of the total work of social reproduction’ (McDowell (2003) TIBG28, 1). Even childcare arrangements are integral to social reproduction in post-industrial economies (Mahon (2006) TIBG31, 4), while in developing countries ‘traditional means of social reproduction, including children's participation from an early age in family businesses and agricultural endeavours, is giving way to oversight by federal and state government agencies’ (Jennings et al. (2006) Area 38, 3).

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.


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