Life's Care: Reworking the Conditions of Social (Re)Production

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geographic Perspectives on Women Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Organizers: Gregory Donovan, Amanda Matles, Hillary Caldwell
Chairs: Cindi Katz


This session brings together critical considerations of phenomena ranging from collective trauma and sanctuaries to gentrification and domestic technologies so as to understand and expand the role of care within contemporary social reproduction. According to Cindi Katz (2001), social reproduction “hinges upon the biological reproduction of the labor force, both generationally and on a daily basis, through the acquisition and distribution of the means of existence, including food, shelter, clothing, and health care” and also “encompasses the reproduction of the labor force at a certain (and fluid) level of differentiation and expertise” (p 710). Through an analytical pairing of social and economic development, each paper explores how practices of care figure into the relations, spaces, and possibilities of (re)production.

In their introduction to Antipode’s special issue on “Life’s Work: Geographies of Social Reproduction,” Katharyne Mitchell, Sallie Marston, and Cindi Katz (2003) succinctly reason that “social reproduction is about how we live” (p 416) and call for contesting theoretical abstractions that segregate living from working through more critical analysis of how “neoliberal subjects” are developed in relation to the state and regimes of accumulation. Specifically, they argue that “in order to understand how and why life’s work is changing in the contemporary era, we must know more about the ways in which individuals make and understand themselves as workers, consumers, students, parents, migrants, and lovers, and how these subject positions are constituted and entrenched spatially through the discourses and material social practices of public and private, inside and outside, alien and citizen, home and away, natural and unnatural, imaginary and real, and work and leisure among others” (p 418). Through a transdisciplinary collection of five papers, this session aims to continue the discussion begun in “Life’s Work” through an excavation of the material social conditions that both help and hinder the ability of social actors to care, and be cared for, in neoliberal societies.

An analytical centering of care and caring is offered as a means of unflattening the unwaged labour that absorbs, reworks, and contests the categorical binaries and commonsense understandings that routinize and rationalize contemporary regimes of accumulation. In doing so, each paper offers ways of, and reasons for, reworking the conditions of social (re)production so as to foster communities of care, reduce emotional distance, and redraw boundaries of life, work, and resistance.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Caitlin Cahill*, Pratt Institute, Our city! Reimagining liberatory urban futures through participatory cultural praxis 16 9:55 AM
Presenter Hillary Caldwell*, CUNY - Graduate Center, “It’s about establishing a beachhead”: Community land trusts and the fight for control over social reproduction in New York City 16 10:11 AM
Presenter Gregory T Donovan*, Fordham University, The smart home does not care: Social reproduction and the design (an)aesthetics of domestic technologies 16 10:27 AM
Presenter Amanda Matles*, CUNY Graduate Center, Expanding sanctuary: (re)producing relationships of freedom and liberation 16 10:43 AM
Presenter Rachel Pain*, Newcastle University, Paper Dolls Research Group, Independent Organisation, Creating community from collective trauma 16 10:59 AM
Discussant Cindi Katz CUNY Graduate Center 20 11:15 AM

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