Dialectical Anthropology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 79–94 | Cite as

Gendered migrations, social reproduction and the household in Europe

  • Eleonore Kofman


As a framework for empirical studies, global chains of care has become the favored theoretical lens to capture the global transfer of physical and emotional labor from less wealthy regions, whether in the South or the poorer regions of the North to wealthy regions. However, the global chains of care literature has tended to channel research into a narrow set of sectors, skills and sites. In particular, its analysis is framed in terms of flows between households, thus rendering invisible the other sites, external agents and institutions of care interacting with the household as well as the diversity of familial arrangements within the household. Moreover, the household in feminist analysis had moved from being a site of unpaid work to a site of unpaid care. In this article, I suggest we need to unpack what is actually happening in the household in a period of economic, social and political change in which inequalities have increased massively, and state intervention is reshaping how and what activities are undertaken in particular sites and institutions. In order to do this, I suggest in this paper that revisiting the concept of social reproduction would enable us to better appreciate the complexity of the transfer of labor, both in relation to different institutional arrangements and the spatial extension of social reproduction. I firstly briefly review the relationship between social reproduction and its relationship with care in the last 30 years and consider some of the initial North American analyses applying the concept of social reproduction to migrant labor and its increasingly globally extended reproduction. The analysis of specific developments of social reproduction in the household focuses on the European Union.


Gender Reproduction Inequality Migration Labor Europe 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK

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