Individual Paper: Transitions in Practice: Working Towards a Gender-Equitable Degrowth Society
The issue of work in a degrowth society has been central in both theoretical inquiry and activist-led debate. Yet, fruitful criticism from a feminist perspective has been calling for an expanded and holistc conception of work, aiming to overcome the typical male and industrial focus of studying labour, which also applies to many degrowth visions of reducing working time. Feminist economics has a long history of pointing out that work does not only happen in the monetized, public sphere, but also in the unpaid domestic sphere, where it is disproportionately carried out by women. Therefore, concepts for reorganizing work in a degrowth society need to take into account “the whole of work” (Biesecker), including care work, subsistence work, civil engagement, etc. Aiming for a gender-equitable society, the question then can not only be one of how to reduce working time in the paid sphere, but also one of how to (re-)organize and (re-)distribute domestic and other forms of unpaid work equally among genders. The theoretical debate around these questions has gained quite some momentum over the past few years, but in order to develop a deeper understanding of the necessary conditions for overcoming the gendered division of labour in a degrowth society, there is a need for more empirical research. For my Master’s thesis, I have conducted qualitative research in two socio-ecological communities in Germany, with the aim of looking at emerging alternative working practices in these experimental spaces for degrowth and evaluating these from a feminist perspective. Within a practice theoretical analytical framework, I will base my findings on qualitative interviews and participatory observation. My analysis of the everyday practices of organizing and (re-)distributing work will contribute to understand which practices may reproduce or overcome the gendered division of labour, and which conditions for gender-equitable work have to be met in a degrowth society.
Start time: 14:30
Room: ABF (Stora Salen)
Track: Care, gender and feminism