Care Workshops 2020-2021
Between 2020 and 2021, we organized a series of public online conversations focused on care. Topics varied and we examined issues such as post-work, queer kinships, vaccine hesitancy, global labor standards
In a society that promotes relentless performance and at the same time undervalues “essential” labor, while imposing a 24/7 working time, we want to explore what are the alternatives. From self-design in the era of automation to UBI to the resistance of indigenous communities, we want to look for concrete utopias beyond or within work ethics and capitalism.
Speakers: Heather Berg, Arturo Escobar, Helen Hester, Melanie Yazzie
Presenter: Tania Rispoli
Queer Kinship and Care
Queer Kinship and Care was organized by Pedro Nicoli (UFMG) and Riikka Prattes (Duke) for the Revaluing Care in the Global Economy project.
Speakers: Martin F. Manalansan IV (University of Minnesota), Shelley M. Park (University of Central Florida), Hil Malatino (Pennsylvania State University)
Feminist Lessons on Vaccine Hesitancy
“Indispensable to All Working Women and to Mothers in the Home”: Global Labor Standards and the Carework Economy, 1919-2020
Eileen Boris (Hull Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara)
“Indispensable to All Working Women and to Mothers in the Home”: that is how the French organizer of garment outworkers Jeanne Bouvier characterized a proposal for an eight hour day, forty-eight hour week which a century ago became Convention No.1 of the newly formed International Labor Organization (ILO). In differentiating “mother in the home” from “all working women,” Bouvier reinforced the separating of mother work from the world of employment that has haunted the formulation of global labor standards. This binary—what some theorists refer to as productive and reproductive labor, others as paid and unpaid work and the ILO as work and family responsibilities—cordoned off care from employment. Until the 2000s, paid care work mostly stood outside of ILO deliberations, while unpaid family care became a concern as a means to enhance labor force participation and thus reinforce the valuing of care as a special kind of activity, one performed out of love or duty, that loses its affective-ness when commodified to allow others to go out to work. With the assumption that any ‘woman’ can perform it and the prevalence of those from despised or “othered” castes, classes, and race/ethnicities undertaking its particularly dirty and physical aspects, the labor of care has come cheap, even when paid rather than embraced—or forced. And it has assumed that the work was feminized in a dual sense: performed by those considered women and characteristics of heteronormative feminine labor. Whether the new carework economy, especially during COVID times, touted by the ILO as central for gender equality, merely relabels the old inequalities will depend on the struggles waged in its name.