Introduction

In: Historical Materialism
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  • 1 Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario
  • 2 University of Sheffield
  • 3 University of Edinburgh
  • 4 Goldsmiths, University of London

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The 2011 Historical Materialism Conference in London saw the launch of a Marxist-Feminist set of panels. This issue is inspired by the success of those panels, and the remarkably sustained interest in reviving and moving beyond older debates and discussions. The special issue’s focus, Social-Reproduction Feminism, reflects and contextualises the ongoing work and engagement with that thematic that has threaded through the conferences in the 2010s. This Introduction provides a summary overview of the Social-Reproduction Feminism framework, situating it within Marxist-Feminist thinking and politics more generally, and calls on readers to consider its promise and potential as an historical-materialist approach to understanding capitalist social relations in terms of an integrated totality.

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  • 1

    Kollontai 1909.

  • 2

    Cf. Barrett 1980; Sargent (ed.) 1981. The Marxist-Feminist project comprises various strands of thought and politics, some overlapping, some competing. But its proponents were broadly united in exploring the interrelation of feminist and Marxist insights and methods.

  • 5

    Althusser 1971.

  • 8

    Ferguson 1999.

  • 10

    Hartmann 1979. We put ‘capitalism’ in scare quotes because Hartmann, like so many others at the time and since, uses the term to denote formal economic relations. Our preference is to understand capitalism as a social system, or, put differently, to emphasise that ‘the economic’ is an abstraction, which does not concretely exist outside of culture and society, and which is therefore organised in, and through, the relations of gender, race, sexuality, nation and imperialism.

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