»Events»On Emancipation and Exploitation through Unpaid Reproductive Labour: Some Evidence from Urban-to Rural Migration in France
On Emancipation and Exploitation through Unpaid Reproductive Labour: Some Evidence from Urban-to Rural Migration in France
If historical feminist movements, such as wages for housework, have been fighting for the recognition and remuneration of labour taking place in the personal space of the home, this paper explores a counterintuitive struggle for more agency over one’s time through increased unpaid labour. It describes urban to rural migration in France, one of the heartlands of capitalism. It shows how urbanites that have recently settled in the countryside try to increase their agency over time by constructing a specific type of relationship – some selective remoteness – to the formal economy. Their attempts to live less alienated lives pass through increased amounts of unpaid labour, from serious do-it-yourself projects (such as housebuilding, but also homesteading) to participation in extensive informal care networks. Yet, the possibility to do this unpaid labour depends on people’s place in the broader macroeconomy. This paper contributes to the analysis of reproductive labour in capitalist societies, when it belongs to larger capitalist forms of exploitation and when it opens the door to more agency.
Dr Ieva Snikersprogehas a PhD in anthropology and sociology of development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Her thesis, “Working Alternatives to Capitalist Factory Takeovers and the Return to the Land in Early Twenty-First Century France,” investigated two alternatives to capitalist ways of (re)production in Southern France.