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Carework as Commons: Towards A Feminist Degrowth Agenda

By: Bengi Akbulut


While discussions on degrowth transitions have emphasized the centrality of care work in post-growth societies, these often lack an adequate analysis of how this work will be organized, by whom it will be performed, under which conditions it will be realized and how its fruits will be shared. A parallel silence can be spotted in the way that the notion of the commons is understood and articulated within these debates: despite the repeated emphasis on how commons is to be an integral base of the social-economic organization of post-growth societies, a comprehensive discussion of commons as beyond spheres between the state and the market missing.
Given that much of care work is performed by women (and it is gendered in a sense that goes beyond mere division of labor), on the one hand, and that significant inequalities exist not only in access to but also in the labor burden involved in the reproduction of the commons, on the other, this twin silence bears significant implications from a feminist perspective in particular. This paper aims to address this issue by conceptualizing the commons as spheres of collective and democratic social reproduction that provides autonomy from both the state and capital, and operationalizes it in the context of care and commoning carework. In so doing, the paper aims to tease out the concrete links between degrowth, carework and the commons, and provide a feminist framework to complement the degrowth agenda.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Carework as Commons: Towards A Feminist Degrowth Agenda“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

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Bengi Akbulut

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