Departmental Bulletin Paper Changing Norms of Social Reproduction in an Age of Austerity

HIMMELWEIT, Susan  ,  ヒメルヴァイト, スーザン

20pp.5 - 20 , 2017-03-31 , お茶の水女子大学ジェンダー研究センター
This paper argues that the concept of social reproduction not only is\useful in understanding the gendered impact of austerity, but also is central to\understanding the processes that led to the imposition of austerity. It argues\that the conditions that gave rise to the development of European welfare\states’ contributions to social reproduction were undermined by the growth\and increasing dominance of globally mobile financial capital. This was because\finance capital has no interest in supporting the reproduction of any national\working class, but rather an interest in individualising responsibility for social\reproduction to ensure households become customers for its products.\  The financial crisis provided an opportunity for neoliberal governments,\supportive of finance capital, to further that agenda by imposing austerity in\order to change the social norms of social reproduction. Public expenditure\cuts and falling real wages should not therefore be seen as unfortunate side\effects of austerity policies, but a measure of their success in achieving neoliberal\objectives. That success has been made possible, at least in part, by the\high levels of insecurity consequent on austerity policies leading to working\class quiescence.\  A measure of the success of any transition to such a new neoliberal mode\of social reproduction will be the extent to which responsibility for falling\standards of living is successfully individualised onto care recipients and their\families. However, since engagement in the market cannot meet all social\reproductive needs the tension that lies at the heart of capitalism between\capital accumulation and sustainable forms of reproduction will inevitably\reappear in new forms.

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