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Reproductive Labor

  • By: Elisabetta Pernigotti
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

From a socioeconomic perspective, mothering activities are reproductive labor activities carried out socially by mothers. Some of the most contemporary debates concern the societal arrangements of reproductive labor, i.e., by gender and race, as well as the welfare state's involvement in lives of citizens.

Reproductive labor consists in labor activities aimed at reproducing the labor force, including the person's survival, development, and social reproduction. In this sense, it is a necessary condition of productive labor; and therefore, of the capitalist mode of production. It consists in the production of goods and services, namely cooking, cleaning the house, ironing, and caring for the children and the elderly. It includes multiple work activities within and outside the house.

In developing countries, reproductive labor may include a wider span of ...

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