ELHN Conference 2017 – CFP “The Home as Workplace”

Working group “Labour and family economies” (coord. Cristina Borderias, Manuela Martini), Panel proposal : “The Home as Workplace” Coordinator : Tania Toffanin (tania.toffanin@unipd.it)
The home is the customary unit of shelter for the household as well as the standard setting for social reproduction. The home is the place where, according to the gendered division of labour, women accomplish the unpaid domestic and care work. Nevertheless, the home is also the location for production, as paid work, for manufacturing and service sector enterprises.
As observed by Karl Marx in the 19th century, in Britain the domestic industry disseminated intensively during the expansion of the large-scale industry. Examining the economic history, it is clear that the domestic industry has never been sporadic in the economic development. Conversely, it has been crucial for the expansion of manufacturing sector but also for disciplining and controlling the workforce and the reproductive work. During the Thirty glorious years, women increased their participation in the paid work, outside the home. However, in many countries the homework experienced a relevant expansion, due to the absence of welfare provisions and as result of a deep-rooted patriarchal culture. After the end of the Thirty glorious years, the domestic industry has known a relocation. In traditional manufacturing industry – such as textiles, clothing and leather – workforce flexibility, internal restructuring, outsourcings and relocation processes have always been considered essential factors to compete. Consequently, the domestic industry has been relocated from western countries to Asian and African countries. However, in western countries there is a renewed recurrence of the home as workplace: freelancers, working as translators, journalists, consultants but also employed persons working with telecommuting and telework for manufacturing and service sector enterprises.
In this way, analysing the home as workplace means considering the spread and the strength of the domestic industry under the capitalistic development. In addition, it means considering also gender disparities that support this process and the role of national governments in their reproduction.
Suggested themes are:
1) The historical path of the domestic industry at national level
2) The homework as metaphor of the gendered division of labour
3) The analysis of contemporary forms of homework
4) The role played by the national governments in regulating this form of production
5) Forms of resistances, conflicts and struggles performed by homeworkers

Abstracts should not exceed 300 words.
Paper proposals must be sent by March 15th 2017 to Tania Toffanin (coordinator): tania.toffanin@unipd.it
The notification of acceptance will be sent by March 30th 2017.

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