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Women and Work

Women and Work

Feminism, Labour, and Social Reproduction

Susan Ferguson

Series: Mapping Social Reproduction Theory

A radical imagining of female emancipation

Feminism is once again on the political agenda. Across the world women are taking to the streets to protest unfair working conditions, abortion laws, and sexual violence. They are demanding decent wages, better schools and free childcare. But why do some feminists choose to fight for more women CEOs, while others fight for a world without CEOs?

To understand these divergent approaches, Susan Ferguson looks at the ideas that have inspired women to protest, exploring the ways in which feminists have placed work at the centre of their struggle for emancipation. Two distinct trajectories emerge: 'equality feminism' and 'social reproduction feminism'. Ferguson argues that socialists have too often embraced the 'liberal' tendencies of equality feminism, while neglecting the insights of social reproduction feminism.

Engaging with feminist anti-work critiques, Ferguson proposes that women's emancipation depends upon a radical reimagining of all labour and advocates for a renewed social reproduction framework as a powerful basis for an inclusive feminist politics.

Susan Ferguson is Associate Professor Emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, teaching Youth and Children's Studies and Digital Media and Journalism.

'Susan Ferguson's attention to labour in the history of feminist thought is timely and urgent... scholars and students across disciplines will find here valuable insights into the history of feminist theory and social movements' - Rosemary Hennessy, author of 'Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism'

'Susan Ferguson has been a leader in the efforts to develop social reproduction theory... her focus on the history of labour in Marxist and feminist thought brilliantly reshapes our understanding of the concept' - Lise Vogel, author of 'Marxism and the Oppression of Women'

'Shines a searching light on the interactions between class, race and gender in the reproduction of contemporary global capitalism. This book marks a milestone in socialist feminist theory' - Ursula Huws, author of 'Labour in Contemporary Capitalism: What Next?'

'Through an innovative interpretation of key historical and contemporary feminist texts, this compellingly written book offers socialist-feminist activists an excellent introduction to social reproduction theory and its political implications' - Johanna Brenner, author of 'Women and the Politics of Class'

'A crucial and much needed book. Analyzing more than two hundred years of feminist theorizing on work and oppression, Ferguson rigorously unpacks the dilemmas we face when we fail to problematize what work is, and what it should be to bring about freedom. Essential reading for socialist feminists' - Sara Farris, author of 'In the Name of Women's Rights: The Rise of Femonationalism'

1. The Labour Lens
Part I: Three Trajectories
2. The Rational-Humanist Roots of Equality Feminism
3. Socialist Feminism: Two Approaches to Understanding Women's Work
4. Equal Work For and Against Capital
5. Anti-Racist Feminism and Women's Work
Part II: Social Reproduction Feminism
6. A Political Economy of 'Women's Work': Producing Patriarchal Capitalism
7. Renewing Social Reproduction Feminism
8. The Social Reproduction Strike: Life-Making Beyond Capitalism
Published by Pluto Press in Nov 2019
Paperback ISBN: 9780745338712
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745338729
eBook ISBN: 9781786804280

192 pages

135mm x 215mm

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