This talk explores the concept of essential work using a global feminist social reproduction perspective. Based on research conducted in the first phase of the pandemic, it shows that the meaning of essential work in essential work legislations/classifications is more ambiguous and politicised than it may appear and, although it can be used as a basis to reclaim the value of socially reproductive work, its transformative potential hinges on the possibility to encompass the most precarious and transnational dimensions of (re)production. Thus, to mobilise the political potential of essential work a feminist re-definition and re-appropriation is needed.
Dr. Sara Stevano is a development and feminist political economist. She is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at SOAS University of London, after holding teaching and research positions at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and King’s College London. Her areas of study are the political economy of work, food and nutrition, inequalities and social reproduction. Her work focuses on Africa, with primary research experience in Mozambique and Ghana. Sara is committed to expanding the boundaries of economic research and teaching through interdisciplinary approaches, qualitative methods and micro-macro bridges.
Dr. Michal Nahman is Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Sciences at the University of West England. She is a social scientist who uses the theoretical and methodological tools of sociology, anthropology, feminist science studies to examine closely the political, social and cultural dimensions of biomedicine, reproduction as they relate to race/ism, nationalism and globalisation. More recently her work has examined gendered forms of work, and the colonial dimensions of Global Fertility Chains. Michal Nahman, along with Professor Susan Newman (Open University), and Yuko Edwards, is one of the curators of the “This Is Essential Work” online exhibition and will share research and artwork into the question of essential work from feminist perspectives.
Selected Artists from the 'This is Essential Work' online art exhibition will join the event.
Please email Sheila Hobbs for the joining information.