Talk by Lisa Adkins: Social Reproduction in the Neoliberal Era: Payments, Leverage and the Minskian HouseholdDates: Saturday 11 May, 2pm
In this talk I am concerned with the shifting ground of social reproduction, that is, with shifts to the processes through which the life of populations is maintained and reproduced. While the concept of social reproduction is associated with Marxist and socialist feminist analyses produced in previous decades, there has been a recent revival of interest in the concept in the context of the increasing precarity of life. Indeed, in some quarters it has been declared that social reproduction is in crisis. I suggest that rather than in crisis, the maintenance of life has shifted axis. At issue in the reproduction of life in the post-Keynesian present is not a set of practices that work to support capital via the daily maintenance and reproduction of labour power and on which the survival of households also depends. Instead, life is hardwired to the provision of payments to finance capital. Such payments give households access to the maintenance of life and serve as a source of liquidity for financial markets. I will suggest, then, that social reproduction has shifted in focus from the maintenance of labour power to the maintenance of contracted payments, a shift that places the household as central to the economic and political project of finance led growth. This household is one that I will characterize as Minskian. This is a household that exists in a continuous state of speculation and serves as an anchor for financial capital via the provision of flows of money to finance markets.
Lisa Adkins is Professor of Sociology and Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is also an Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor (2015-19). Her contributions to the discipline of sociology are in the areas of economic sociology, social theory and feminist theory. Recent publications include The Time of Money (2018), The Post-Fordist Sexual Contract: Working and Living in Contingency (with Maryanne Dever, 2016) and Measure and Value (with Celia Lury, 2012). She is joint Editor-in-Chief of Australian Feminist Studies (Routledge/Taylor & Francis).
This talk is co-presented with 1856
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.