While marginalized in hegemonic discourses, care and social reproduction remain the absolute prerequisites for the existence of all socio-political systems. The different crises in contemporary political economies are thus never only crises of formal policy, but always permeated with varying relations of care and reproduction. Care and reproduction are also not only affected by the masculine making of politics-as-traditionally-understood, but have the power to shape the way such politics is conducted. This panel calls for papers that explore the relations of care and reproduction – and their political dimensions on the multiply intersecting levels of social life.
Reproduction here is understood widely as the social and material making, maintenance and subsistence of people and social bonds, on a daily basis and generationally. It is structured by historically specific social institutions and by gendered, ethnicized and aged relations within the state and the wider society. Care, in turn, can be understood in terms of practices as well as through the moral and political relations that stem from human vulnerability. Together, the politics of care and reproduction intertwine with all kinds of social, political and economic phenomena, the variety of which this panel aims to explore.
The panel invites both theoretically and empirically driven papers representing diverse methodological approaches. The perspectives may range, for example, from feminist political economy to the ethics of care to the biopolitical governance of social reproduction. The papers may explore the politics of care and reproduction on the macro level of international political economy, for instance, in terms of national restructuring of welfare states as well as on the very micro-level of the embodied practices and spaces of care. What is important is that the papers address the politics of care and reproduction – regardless of the way in which politics and ‘the political’ are defined.