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Technology and care: mapping and demystifying the neoliberal extraction of reproductive labor 
Jennifer Denbow (California Polytechnic State University)
Coleen Carrigan (University of Virginia)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel combines feminist STS theories of care with theories on reproductive labor. Papers will map connections among technological developments of late capitalism, the degradation and commodification of reproductive labor, and the racialized gender politics of scientific knowledge production.

Long Abstract:

Whether the focus is on the flows of care workers from the global south to the global north or on the dismantling of the welfare state, reproductive labor has increasingly become a site of extraction under neoliberalism. Although reproductive labor underpins the economy, it is often naturalized and made invisible through material, cultural, epistemic and ideological relations of power. These same power relations enthrone digital commodities, aggrandizing tools useful to the intensification of value extraction from labor markets around the globe.

Care is a critical analytical category to uncover the oppressive norms of knowledge production in science and technological worksites. In feminist STS, care is taken up as both a conceptual concern (what do we care about?) and a methodological one (why do we care?) to excavate and investigate hidden labors that are deleted from the individualistic, androcentric myth-building of technoscientific work.

This panel will generate insights from joining feminist STS theories of care together with political economic theories on caring labor. Panelists will explore questions such as: What are the connections between neoliberalism’s fetishization of technology and its novel modes of extraction and degradation of reproductive labor? How are these linked to gendered and racialized constructions of whose work matters and whose knowledge matters in science? How is the virtualization of society connected to the devaluation of reproductive labor? How does the fetishization of technoscience act as an ideological solvent for care about the social?

Accepted papers: