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date: 20 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This entry will look at Marx’s theoretical contributions to social reproduction in relationship to critical assessments of his alleged “neglect” of reproduction and to the development of the social sciences, particularly the “radical” social sciences that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and continued to develop ever since. Marx, as well as Engels, offered important insights for understanding social reproduction as an abstract feature of human societies that, however, can only be fully understood in its historically specific context (i.e., in the context of the interface between modes of production and social formations). Social reproduction in the twenty-first century is capitalist social reproduction, inherently contradictory, as successful struggles for the reproduction of the working classes, for example, do not necessarily challenge capitalism. Finally, this article argues that radical social scientists, because they identify the capitalist foundations of the social phenomena they study, have made important contributions to the study of capitalist reproduction.

Keywords: capitalist social reproduction, social reproduction, mode of production, social formation, social relations of reproduction, historical materialism, racial inequality, gender inequality, oppression of women

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