The Value of Reproductive Labor

Reproductive labor often occupies an ambivalent position in the lives of people who combine multiple livelihoods to survive, capable of generating some of the deepest emotional responses surrounding family life—whether happiness or grief—yet generally viewed in negative terms in the formal economy, interfering with the ability of women to dedicate their lives to work outside of the home and, when commoditized, generally poorly paid.  We consider reproductive labor from a different angle, asking how reproductive labor might endow productive labor with value.  We explore this question though comparisons among forms of labor in the families and communities of Guatemalan and Mexican guestworkers working in Canada and the United States, specifically focusing on relationships between reproductive labor and foreign contract labor.
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