Childcare Struggles, Maternal Workers and Social Reproduction

By Maud Perrier

Published

Feb 11, 2022

Page count

148 pages

ISBN

978-1529214925

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Feb 11, 2022

Page count

148 pages

ISBN

978-1529214932

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Feb 11, 2022

Page count

148 pages

ISBN

978-1529214932

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Childcare Struggles, Maternal Workers and Social Reproduction

Spanning the United Kingdom, United States and Australia, this comparative study brings maternal workers’ politicized voices to the centre of contemporary debates on childcare, work and gender.

The book illustrates how maternal workers continue to organize against low pay, exploitative working conditions and state retrenchment and provides a unique theorization of feminist divisions and solidarities.

Bringing together social reproduction with maternal studies, this is a resonating call to build a cross-sectoral, intersectional movement around childcare. Maud Perrier shows why social reproduction needs to be at the centre of a critical theory of work, care and mothering for post-pandemic times.

"This is an exciting book. Drawing on a wealth of interviews and research from across three continents, Maud Perrier reconceptualises struggles over childcare by theorising the different yet connected activities of ‘maternal workers’. The book therefore reconnects two artificially separated spheres: the oppression of mothering and the exploitation of paid childcare. In the process, it pushes forward sociological debates around labour and social reproduction, alongside political debates on socialist feminist thinking." Jo Littler, City, University of London

"In this vivid and persuasive text Maud Perrier offers a fascinating, if alarming, overview of the ever worsening conditions around childcare and social reproduction generally, with shrinking public funds and expanding corporate involvement leaving feminists, mothers and maternal workers challenged and divided. But she also suggests ways of building unifying solidarities to improve the lot of maternal workers everywhere, offering more emancipatory and egalitarian outcomes. This is an essential, path-breaking text for our time." Lynne Segal, Birkbeck, University of London

"Perrier’s 'maternal worker power' built across workplaces and communities re-imagines childcare movement politics from an anti-racist, feminist perspective. The book expertly showcases social reproduction theory’s potential as a powerful analytic lens." Susan Ferguson, Wilfrid Laurier University

"Using a new ‘maternal worker’ framework and well-researched case studies, Perrier captures the urgency for scholars and community activists to integrate the voices of waged and unwaged caregivers. The book successfully identifies theoretical and practical solutions to generate solidarity across gender, class and racial lines." Elizabeth Adamson, University of New South Wales

Maud Perrier is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol.

Introduction

1. Counter-Thinking from the Nursery: Theorizing Contemporary Childcare Movements

2. Selfish Strikers and Intimate Unions: Early Years Educators’ Walkouts and the Big Steps Campaign, Australia

3. Mothering the Mothers: Stratified Depletion and Austerity in Bristol, United Kingdom

4. At the Table or Thrown under the Bus: Migrant Nannies’ Organizing and Childcare Coalitions during the COVID-19 Pandemic

5. Maternal Worker Power

Pandemic Postscript