Capitalism, Welfare State and Intimate Life: Integrating Human Reproduction in the Theory of Social Reproduction
“Human reproduction” is an indispensable component of social reproduction, while it hasn’t acquired an adequate position in social sciences.
Against this context, feminist scholars have put tremendous effort to theorize human production as part of the economy. Various concepts were coined to theoretically capture the activities for human reproduction, such as “housework”, “reproductive labour,” “unpaid work,” “care,” “emotional labour” and “intimate work (labour).” On the other hand, feminist scholars have criticized the welfare regime literature, pointing out the lack of attention to the family which has been working as the core producer of welfare in most societies.
Sylvia Walby proposes redefinition of the “economy.” “The concept of the economy needs to be widened so as to include not only marketized activities, but also domestic labour and state welfare.” (Walby 2009: 102) “The conceptualization of unpaid domestic care-work as part of the economy is a challenge to the narrow definition of the economy as activities that have monetary value.” (Walby 2009: 102) At the same time, we should pay attention to the fact that “The tasks accomplished by domestic care-work could be accomplished as either welfare provided by the state, or as goods and services purchased on the market (inside or outside the home). (Walby 2009: 103) This is called “defamilialization” in welfare regime literature.
The session aims to bridge (conventional) economics, welfare state studies and the studies of intimate lives to contribute to the formation of the integrated theory of social reproduction.