Social Reproduction Theory: State of the field and new directions in geography

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Interest in social reproduction theory (SRT) has been revived in the in the last ten odd years. This paper positions SRT, and its refraction through a geographic lens, as particularly well placed to address emerging issues in the context of ongoing crises—economic, environmental and of care—which have been enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic. I present an overview of the Marxist-feminist traditions that constitute the basis for modern SRT. Through a survey of recent literature, I discuss the potential for extending contemporary SRT through intersectionality theory and suggest the need to draw on theoretical insights originating in the global periphery towards a postcolonial, decolonial SRT. Finally, I contextualize social reproduction theories within geography and suggest three emerging areas of scholarship in which combining a geographic and SRT perspective would yield productive understandings of the current moment and signal towards the construction of alternative, livable futures. These areas are debt and the financialization of social reproduction under neoliberalism; a turn towards a socioecological understanding of reproduction; and resistance, transformation and visions of the future through a “conscious appropriation” of life’s work and life sustaining practices at large.




Rodríguez-Rocha, V. (2021). Social Reproduction Theory: State of the field and new directions in geography. Geography Compass, 15(8).

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