SOC366H1 Lecture Notes - Social Reproduction, Labour Power, Mena
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Lecture #2 5/19/2011 7:10:00 AM
How work is defined,
Shifts in history and results of those shifs
What is ideology that holds this institutional arrangements, where
did it come from.
We trust women more than men. Ideology influences how we
organize our selves and our own identities. Motherhood vs. worker
identity. We afford status and Power to work identities.
1% ownership of the means of Power – in any society, if you won
things that signifies Power – if you own things you make decision,
o Women in West have more ownership than women in other
o White middle class women contracting out work to women of
What Is Work?
What are the 2 forms of human production that character a
o 2 central processes that keep society going
o 1) Economic Production – through mode of production.
Defines the main type of mode of Production – Marx – we
have a Capitalist mode of production.
o 2) Production of People- if you don’t have people, can’t
create economic production. This is carried out through a
sex-gender system: sexual division of labour in society.
These 2 things are not distinct, they are related. How are they
o Marxists: typically focus on means of production ( class) –
focuses on class inequality. Difference between the owners
and workers. Haves and have-nots
Gender is secondary. Class equality is drive to distribute
resources. This notion ASSUMES gender reproduction is
a given – someone is already socializing you and
feeding you well enough to go to work.
o Feminists: there is definitely a problem with access to
resources and it is unequal, however, where does gender
not only are mode of production and human production,
the economic system actually RELIES on unpaid
system. There is definitely class inequality, but the
basis actually depends on human production – it is
totally ignored because it is not in paid realm. This is
seen in language – “work” – doesn’t describe what
women do at home.
The whole capitalist system depends on making unpaid
work invisible, unimportant.
Even if we change mode of production (capitalism –
redistribute resources), it wouldn’t address why women
are responsible for child care.
TOGETHER: CLASS system also has gender embedded –
there are rich and poor and within those rungs on the
latter, here are 2 genders, they have different access to
How is Women’s Work Related to Capitalism?
What is driving inequality in society?
o ****Feminists came up with social reproduction: SOCIAL
important. It emphasizes the system and the process of
childrearing. Fine, women carry children, but it doesn’t mean
women are better at feeding a child than men are. There is a
SOCIAL aspect – it is a process.
it is the manual work, the psychological work going into
caring for a family.
It takes emphasis away from biological and natural and
emphasizes that is SOCIAL. Childrearing by women is
Constructing another system based on the biology
which is social.
This is about social systems and social ideologies that
are perpetuated – i.e. what is a good mom, need to
have mom and dad.
o If social reproduction is thought of as work…
Marxists just focus on paid work.
We need to address human production aspect of work.
****TEST: why is definition o social reproduction important?
1) identifies women’s unpaid work, outside of economic realm
as WORK. It has an importance because economic system
relies on it.
The Power of Ideology
Systems of ideology sometimes improves a condition, and
sometimes it deproves the situation, usually based on biology.
Separation work : economic realm – paid work. Wasn’t always like
this. Work was carried out in a home by all members. The whole
family’s subsistence depended on each family member. The
husband had a trade and whole family helped.
Industrial Revolution –separation of spheres. Work was carried
out in factories. Very important for gender relations.
o Here work, motherhood come from. All these things didn’t
exist. Work is not carried out in the home and the sphere is
separated. Men left home to work in factories,
o Work was at home (getting food), ad taking care of kids –
was all part of life, wasn’t seen as separate from the “work”.
Now work leaves the home, what do women do then?
Demographic shift: ideology of separate spheres happens.
o Separation occurred because of inherent physical
characteristics – women are smaller, more frail. There were
horrible conditions, it was gross and dangerous. This offorded
power and was associated with masculinity. At time wasn’t
o Women were weaker than men but MORALLY superior to
men. Still case today. We need women to keep kids in line.
They thought women were unfit for economic competition.