Globalization and social recomposition, I: gender

IIRE — Global Justice School 2003

Susan Caldwell — Outline of lecture


0.      Aims of this Report

A.    Theoretical analysis of the Marxist mode of production concept – integrating women’s ‘domestic labour’ to answer the question of why having a salaried job does NOT answer the issue of women's liberation. Is there a structural basis for the systematic violence against women?

B.    Feminist politically economy

1.        The effects of globalisation on women – asking the question of how women are affected by globalisation. Are men and women equally affected? Do we need to make a specific gender analysis or does class explain all differences?

2.        The domestic life cycle and patriarchy in your life

C.    Globalisation and militarization and gender

1.        Impact of war on women

(a)    Destruction of means of subsistence

(b)   Refugees

(c)    Political Rape

(d)   Sex trafficking with military occupation

D.    Women and political action: Autonomous women’s movement and the resistance to globalisation, internationally and in Europe

1.        Women and peace initiatives

E.     Don’t have time for all and so will leave a fuller answer to 4rd point to your reading of:

î         “2000 Good Reasons to March” (2000)

î         World March of Women (2002) – “The long march towards another world” and “Violence against women” (interventions in Porto Alegre)

î         Discussion with the Philippine women participants on the TriPeople Women’s Peace Initiative




1.      Integration the production of labour power/ reproduction of the work force into the mode of production concept

A.    Three department analysis of the mode of production concept

î         See Stéphanie Treillet Gender and Globalisation

î         See Marx's Basic Model for the Analysis of Modes of Production

î         Vinteuil - challenge of integrating feminism and Marxism

B.    Family as structure that organises labour in department III

1.        Nature of the family – for daily and generational production of labour power

(a)    Nature of the marriage contract

(b)   See notes – Domestic life cycle

2.        Reinforcement or creation of patriarchal nature of family under capitalism

(a)    Definition of patriarchal power in the family

î         See notes – Definition of patriarchal power in the family

(b)   Patriarchy = violence as main means for control against all women and younger men

(c)    Changes in the 'family form' – women opting out of patriarchal control through single parent families – where the financial means exists.

C.    Conclusions

1.        Violence against women is integral to capitalism as well as to patriarchy.

2.        Women salaried work is based on roles in Dept. III

(a)    Restricted number of job categories

(b)   Professions are area of most equal pay

3.        Women's "double day of labour" when they enter salaried labour force

2.      Feminist political economy

A.    Feminist analysis of globalisation

1.        Incomplete nature of "gender blind" analysis

2.        Generational production of labour power or importing labour power (migration)

(a)    Gender analysis of migration patterns – is it men or women migrating first

î         'Internationalization' of domestic labour – massive importing (migration) of women to do domestic labour in the individual household

î         Internationalization of sex trade – importing (migration) versus sexual tourism

(i)      Sex trade is more profitable than drugs in many advanced capitalist countries

(ii)    Sex trade as the basis of the 'primitive accumulation of capital' in 3rd world countries

3.        Maquiladoras – feminization of manufacturing labour force in low income countries

(a)    Does international investment increase or decrease the wage differential between women and men in salaried work in 'developing countries'?

4.        Capitalist's support of birth control technologies in 3rd world countries

(a)    Contradiction with a woman's right to choose as the choice is forced

5.        IMF Structural Adjustment Policies on women's work in Department III

(a)    Cutback in social services means a return to the household unit (women) of these services care

(b)   Decline in infrastructure (clean water, electricity, roads) means greater labour in the daily production of labour power

6.        Impact of war on women

(a)    Refugee camps are in their vast majority women and children

(b)   Vast increase in violence against women

3.      Women in political action

A.    Self organisation – autonomous women's movement ("mixed" versus "women only")

1.        Analysis from 13th World Congress document:

2.        Women workers in unions

3.        Women self-organisation through NGOs

(a)    Key issues – from labour in Department III

î         Reproductive rights – abortion, birth control, prenatal care, health care, etc.

î         Struggle around violence against women

4.        World March for Women intervention in European Social Forum

(a)    Nature of the Women’s March 2000 initiative

(b)   Concrete demands – are these transitional demands?

(c)    Lobbyist strategy – through extra-parliamentary means

5.        Women’s Peace Initiatives

(a)    Philippine TriPeople Women’s Peace Initiatives


Notes, Definitions


1.      Marx's Basic Model for the Analysis of Modes of Production

1.       Marxist framework for understanding the mode of production concept

·         Department I = production of the means of production

·         Department II = production of the means of subsistence

·         Department III = reproduction / production of labour power (see diagram)

·         Products of one are the input into the other

1.       Gender definition relates to appropriate roles within the two sectors of production (of goods and services) and production of labour power / reproduction

2.       Department III – Production of labour power / reproduction of work force /social reproduction / domestic labour

·         Daily basis

·         generational basis

·         organized by the family / kinship network

3.       See diagram Marx's Basic Model for the Analysis of Modes of Production

·         See also Wally Seccombe, 1974, “The housewife and her labour under capitalism”.



2.      Domestic life cycle

1.       Achieving a livelihood: How do young people gain regular access to a viable means of production in order to provide for themselves and their dependent children in the future?

2.       Acquiring household space: How do young people obtain dwelling space as they come of age? What residence rules and norms of household formation govern this acquisition? Is household formation dependent on property transfer from parents to offspring?

3.       Getting married: How do young people become eligible for marriage? Who controls mate selection and marital timing? Is any form of wealth transfer involved in the marriage contract, and if so, what type? What connection, if any, does marriage have to inheritance?

4.       Bearing and raising children: Under what circumstances does childbirth become legitimate and couple free to procreate? How is fertility socially regulated, both through marriage and within it? How do families deal with an increasingly burdensome dependency ratio as women pass through their childbearing years?

5.       Providing for parents: When children become productive adults and marry, what kind of commitment to their parents do they maintain? Are they obligated to provide and care for them in old age? What role (if any) does inheritance play in structuring relations between the generations, ensuring that commitments are met on both sides?



3.       Definition of patriarchal power in the family: Patriarchy, as I use it, refers to “systems of male headship in family households. A great variety of such systems exist. ... Some combination of the following five prerogatives held by husbands and fathers over their wives and children are generally found in patriarchal family systems, with varying strengths and modes of assertion:

1.       the right to represent the family group and to speak in its name in the community;

2.       effective possession of, entitlement to, and ultimate disposal rights over family property, including income;

3.       supervision of the labour of other family members;

4.       conjugal rights of sexual access to, and exclusive possession of, one’s wife in marriage (hence securing paternity);

5.       custodial rights over children, entailing ultimate authority in their upbringing."

·         For an elaboration of these concepts see Wally Seccombe (1992) A Millennium of Family Change: Feudalism to Capitalism in Northwestern Europe and Wally Seccombe, 1993, Weathering the Storm.