PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to propose to expand the political economic understanding of a “fix”, that is, capital’s ability to overcome crises of profitability through a displacement of its crisis tendencies, to include an analytical attention to the gendered, sexualised and racialised unwaged and underpaid (caring) labour that reproduces labour power within a capitalist economy.Design/methodology/approachA “care fix”, the author argues, involves attempts to manage a crisis of care in ways that do not resolve but merely displace the crisis, perpetuating the systemic imperative of capital to off-load the cost of social reproduction and care, thereby constituting a crucial dynamic of capitalist development and restructuring and resulting in the reorganisation of gendered and racialised class relations and historically contingent regimes of reproduction.FindingsThe maceration of the Fordist regime of reproduction under neoliberalism has given way to a new post-Fordist arrangement that, having exhausted its care fix, is now once again in crisis. A new care fix is currently under way, while at the same time it is being contested and redirected by the contemporary struggles over social reproduction, care and democracy.Research limitations/implicationsConsequently, the author discusses the emergence of the notion of “caring capitalism” and contrasts this with proposals for democratising care, in turn investigating these developments in the context of an ongoing crisis of political representation in Europe and offering a notion of “care municipalism” as a possible way forward.Practical implicationsThe practical implications concern the possibility of democratising the care sector.Social implicationsThe social implications pertain to the questions of how social, political and economic institutions shift when care is placed on their agenda.Originality/valueThe value of this paper is to make a theoretical contribution to the analysis of changing configurations of care, social reproduction and society in relation to questions of democracy.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 21, 2018
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