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Accepted Paper:

Reproductive labour, morality and class among Chilean working-class women. An ethnographic approach  

Author:

Valentina Alvarez-Lopez (International Institute for Philosophy and Social Studies IIPSS)

Paper short abstract:

This paper provides ethnographic descriptions of Chilean working-class women's practices of social reproduction - or the labour oriented to the maintenance and reproduction of people's lives - and the values they attach to them.

Paper long abstract:

In classic sociological approaches to class, the position occupied in the productive structure is at the centre of the classification process. This has resulted in awkward categories ascribed to those who are aside of the formal productive structure as well as either the denial to theorize the unwaged labour that assures people's livelihoods in class terms or the difficulties to place such a work in a wider framework of class formation (as in the case of means of livelihoods school). Instead, Marxist feminist and anthropologist alike have highlighted the co-constitution of production and social reproduction (Eldhom, Harris & Young, 1978), the class struggles over social reproduction (Arruzza, Bhattacharya & Fraser 2019) as well as the centrality of narratives of worth and the diversity of activities aimed at assuring people's livelihoods in thinking about class (Kalb, 2015; Narotzky & Goddard, 2015; Donner, 2015).

Echoing these researches, this paper provides ethnographic descriptions of Chilean working-class women's practices of social reproduction - or the labour oriented to the maintenance and reproduction of people's lives - and the values they attach to them. They are revealed in the light of the gendered organisation of the system of production/reproduction in pre-neoliberal Chile, context in which the mature and elderly women who are the main characters of this paper grew up and were encouraged to become housewives. It is argued that through reproductive labour, women occupy classed and gendered positions whilst embodying, rejecting and/or subverting external negative moral judgments they are often subject to.

Panel P100
Rethinking work, power and social reproduction in and beyond Europe [Anthropology of Labour Network]