International Feminist Perspectives on Care Economy

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sabrina SCHMITT, Women`s Academy Munich, Germany
Gerd MUTZ, Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Birgit ERBE, Women`s Academy Munich, Germany
The internationally observed “crisis of social reproduction” (Winker 2011) reveals that care work cannot simply be regarded as a female, pre-economic condition. Rather, care work has to be conceptualized as an issue of political economy that materialises globally in institutions and economic sectors and that is subject to politics and practices that it shapes at the same time. Feminist economic theorists have not only started to describe the different modes of care work, the specific dynamics of the care economy and its inherent power structures but also proposed engendered conceptualisations (Folbre 2001; Himmelweit 2007; Jochimsen 2003; Madörin 2010). These considerations can provide important theoretical starting points for a conceptualization of care economy from a socio-scientific perspective.

Against this background the proposed paper seeks to analyse which particular contribution these feminist concepts make towards the theoretical conceptualization of a political economy of care and its sectoral dynamics and interdependencies. It will identify specific characteristics, differences and similarities in theories on care economy on the basis of the above mentioned work on feminist care economy and the deployed approaches. The focus of this analysis will lie on

  • their theoretical approach to care work and care economy

  • their potential to describe the gendered rationalities of caring and sectoral allocation mechanisms.

The paper will furthermore explore the existing conceptual contributions for theorizing the political economy of care in a global context (Razavi 2007; Yeates 2005). On the basis of this analysis it will identify starting points for further theoretical considerations in particular with regard to the “5-Sector Model of the Economy” (Gubitzer 2006).

The paper is developed as a part of an empirical research project on care in the household sector carried out by Women`s Academy Munich and Munich University of Applied Sciences within the research cooperation ForGenderCare.