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Social Reproduction

  • By: Olga Sanmiguel-Valderrama
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Social Reproduction refers to all processes that contribute to maintaining and recreating communities on a daily and generational basis. Activities and institutions such as households, educational and health systems, religion, nongovernmental and for-profit organizations, the state and transnational institutions impact on the processes of social reproduction (i.e., by regulating wages, parental leave, and workload length). For feminists, however, the household, or so-called private sphere, is a central space where social reproduction takes place under capitalism. Social reproduction involves housekeeping chores, caring for the sick and elderly, and mothering. The processes of pregnancy, birthing, and socializing children, primarily done on an unremunerated basis by mothers, are mental, manual and emotional work central and foundational to social reproduction. Households, and mothers in particular, hold the responsibility of ...

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