Class Struggle on the Home Front: Work, Conflict, and Exploitation in the Household
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Home/Front examines the gendered exploitation of labor in the household from a postmodern Marxian perspective. The authors of this volume use the anti-foundationalist Marxian economic theories first formulated by Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff to explore power, domination, and exploitation in the modern household.
adjudicate, and enforce laws or customs that empower males rather than females to acquire and hold such property. If women are denied access to such property, much as serfs were denied it in medieval Europe, their propertylessness may push them into feudal household class positions. If, however, women stop being denied so because laws, customs, and economic conditions change, they may acquire and hold property in houses, appliances, and so on. If women also own household property, they need no
would participate in the ancient class process outside the household. The Wall Street Journal (January 26, 1988) reported that 77 percent of working mothers prepare dinner alone and 64 percent clean after dinner alone. These findings are reinforced by others: Hartmann (1981a: 366–94); Blumstein and Schwartz (1983: 144–5); Cowan (1983: 200); and Pleck (1982: 251–333). Recent writings show that wives often can and do make demands for help, particularly when they work outside the home. However
might not otherwise exist. Furthermore, the surplus must either take—or be easily changed into—the qualitative form(s) needed to secure those conditions. That is, the surplus must be distributed in a form acceptable to those recipients who provide the needed conditions of the class structure’s reproduction. Once in existence, any particular class structure’s reproduction is threatened if and when any of its conditions of existence disappears. If the tools, equipment, and raw material used up in
exploring the consequences of Yale’s economic domination of New Haven’s urban landscape. We’d heard stories of a Marxist economist who ran for Mayor on the Green Party ticket in the 1980s and won 10 percent of the city’s vote. During his campaign, he pursued a similar agenda and so we arranged a meeting. Rick Wolff spent several hours with us, providing a detailed picture of New Haven’s political economy. He struck me as a hard-edged Marxist in the tradition of Paul Sweezy, uncompromising in his
people in contemporary households, we hope to change how they carry forward the ongoing transformation of household in the direction of a self-conscious rejection of exploitation. Addendum: Households without class structures Even our introductory analysis of the rich diversity of class structures that households may contain must include at least a brief mention of households without any class processes. We believe they are becoming more common in advanced capitalist countries today, especially