Social Reproduction, Housework and Sexuality

Thursday, March 23, 18h @ MaMa

In various feminisms we find an opposition between Marxist explanations of women’s historical role in the reproduction of capitalist society and also counter-arguments which foreground the long history of patriarchal domination. I argue that the capitalist mode of reproduction as it is outlined by Marx and Marxists can better unify these perspectives once it is parsed into three critical concepts: social reproduction, class reproduction and sexual domination. By synthesizing several Marxist approaches with feminist conceptions of housework, reproductive labor and the sex/gender system, I have developed a conceptual apparatus with which feminist class-analysis may be reconsidered. However, as many have pointed out, what remains to be explained by a class-analysis is the powerful role that the State and patriarchy play — along with racism and sexual domination — in the reproduction of class society. Without recapitulating such debates, I will elaborate a new approach to social reproduction theory which situates state and patriarchal domination at its core. By incorporating various theoretical approaches I hope to rigorously expand our notion of reproduction without diminishing any of its troubling complexities. Lastly, drawing upon my conceptual framework, I will illuminate a potential feminist strategy which coheres divergent orientations towards class-struggle in order to gesture towards an emergent revolutionary horizon in these dark times.
Maya Gonzalez is a communist and revolutionary feminist living in the Bay Area. She did her PhD at the Department of History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz.