On 11 May 2019, Professor Prof. Lisa Adkins will present:


2-3pm at Bus Projects, Collingwood.

1856 will be offering publications of Adkin's essay in a longer form, please email for a postal copy.

This talk is co-presented with Benison Kilby, as a part of her exhibition "Bodies of Work" at bus projects. Her exhibition looks at how a group of artists respond to the intersections of reproductive, care, and feminised labour that maintain, and increasingly define, our current living conditions. As she writes:

The current moment has been defined as a moment of crisis both in terms of work and in terms of care or social reproduction; the two are fundamentally entangled and disproportionately lived through by women. The pressures of this integrated crisis have sparked a revival of interest in reproductive labour by a new generation of artists. As low-waged, precarious service work replaces unionised industrial labour in the global North and becomes ‘feminised’, wages fall below the cost of supporting oneself and others. [...]

Prof. Lisa Adkins will be talking about how we might rethink the maintenance and reproduction of the household today. She preposes that we think of this a relationship between the household and its necessary, contracted payments to finance capital (for utilities and services, as loan repayments, rent, etc.):

"In this talk, I am concerned with the shifting ground of social reproduction, that is, with shifts to the processes through which the life of populations is maintained and reproduced in the post-Keynesian or, as it is also often termed, neoliberal era. While the concept of social reproduction is most readily associated with Marxist and socialist feminist analyses produced in previous decades, and especially analyses of Fordist-Keynesian social and economic formations, there has been a recent revival of interest in the concept. This revival has taken place in the context of the increasing precarity of life, namely, in a context where the material maintenance of life appears to be under sustained threat. Indeed, in some quarters it has been declared that social reproduction is in crisis, not least because of the retreat of the state from social provisioning and the protection of populations. Drawing on the critical insights of earlier Marxist and socialist feminist analyses, and especially the understanding that the reproduction of life is both a condition of existence for capital and also stands as source of productive potential, in this talk I will suggest that rather than in crisis the maintenance of life has shifted its axis. At issue in the reproduction of life in post-Keynesianism is not a set of practices which work to support capital via the daily maintenance and reproduction of labour power and on which the survival of households also depends. Instead, post-Keynesian life is hardwired to the provision of payments to finance capital. Such payments not only give households access to the maintenance of life but also serve as a source of liquidity for financial markets and hence for finance-led growth. I will suggest, in other words, that social reproduction has shifted in focus from the maintenance of labour power to the maintenance of contracted payments, a shift which places the household as central to the economic order and in particular as central to the economic and political project of finance led growth. This household is one which I will characterize here as Minskian. This is a household which exists in a continuous state of speculation and serves as an anchor for financial capital via the provision of flows of money to finance markets." L.A

Lisa Adkins is Professor of Sociology and Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is also an Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor (2015-19). Her contributions to the discipline of sociology are in the areas of economic sociology, social theory and feminist theory. Recent publications include The Time of Money (2018), The Post-Fordist Sexual Contract: Working and Living in Contingency (with Maryanne Dever, 2016) and Measure and Value (with Celia Lury, 2012). She is joint Editor-in-Chief of Australian Feminist Studies (Routledge/Taylor & Francis).

Manuela Gernedel, "Untitled [dishwasher series]", pencil, graphite and coloured pens on paper, 42 x 59 cm, 2018-19 , photograph courtesy of the artist