Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour

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This now classic book traces the social origins of the sexual division of labour. It gives a history of the related processes of colonization and 'housewifization' and extends this analysis to the contemporary new international division of labour and the role which women have to play as the cheapest producers and consumers. First published in 1986, it was hailed as a major paradigm shift for feminist theory. Eleven years on, Maria Mies's theory of capitalist patriarchy has become even more relevant; this new ...
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Overview

This now classic book traces the social origins of the sexual division of labour. It gives a history of the related processes of colonization and 'housewifization' and extends this analysis to the contemporary new international division of labour and the role which women have to play as the cheapest producers and consumers. First published in 1986, it was hailed as a major paradigm shift for feminist theory. Eleven years on, Maria Mies's theory of capitalist patriarchy has become even more relevant; this new edition includes a substantial new introduction in which she both applies her theory to the new, globalized world and answers her critics.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Feminist theory at its very best.” —Off Our Backs

“A major contribution to authentic development theory and practice.” —World Development

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780862323424
  • Publisher: Zed Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/1986
  • Series: Third World Books
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 256

Meet the Author

Maria Mies is Professor of Sociology at the Fachhoschschule in Cologne, Germany.

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Table of Contents

Preface to new edition vii
Foreword 1
1. What is Feminism? 6
Where are we today? 6
Fair-weather Feminism? 14
What is New About Feminism? Continuities and Discontinuities 18
Continuities: Women's Liberation - A Cultural Affair? 18
Discontinuities: Body Politics 24
Discontinuities: A New Concept of Politics 28
Discontinuities: Women's Work 31
Concepts 35
Exploitation or Oppression/Subordination? 36
Capitalist-Patriarchy 37
Overdeveloped-Underdeveloped Societies 39
Autonomy 40
2. Social Origins of the Sexual Division of Labour 44
The Search for Origins Within a Feminist Perspective 44
Biased Concepts 44
Suggested Approach 47
Appropriation of Nature by Women and Men 49
Women's/Men's Appropriation of Their Own Bodies 52
Women's and Men's Object-Relation to Nature 53
Men's Object-Relation to Nature 56
Female Productivity as the Precondition of Male Productivity 58
The Myth of Man-the-Hunter 58
Women's Tools, Men's Tools 61
'Man-the-Hunter' under Feudalism and Capitalism 66
3. Colonization and Housewifization 74
The Dialectics of 'Progress and Retrogression' 74
Subordination of Women, Nature and Colonies: The underground of capitalist patriarchy or civilised society 77
The Persecution of the Witches and the Rise of Modern Society. Women's productive record at the end of the Middle Ages 78
The Subordination and Breaking of the Female Body: Torture 82
Burning of Witches, Primitive Accumulation of Capital, and the Rise of Modern Science 83
Colonization and Primitive Accumulation of Capital 88
Women under Colonialism 90
Women under German Colonialism 97
White Women in Africa 100
Housewifization 100
4. Housewifization International: Women and the New International Division of Labour 112
International Capital Rediscovers Third World Women 112
Why Women? 116
Women as 'Breeders' and Consumers 120
Linkages: Some Examples 127
Conclusion 142
5. Violence Against Women and the Ongoing Primitive Accumulation of Capital 145
Dowry-Murders 146
Amniocentesis and 'Femicide' 151
Rape 153
Analysis 157
Are men rapists by nature? 162
Conclusion 168
6. National Liberation and Women's Liberation 175
Women in the 'Dual Economy' 180
The Soviet Union 180
China 181
Vietnam 188
Why are women mobilized for the national liberation struggle? 194
Why are women 'pushed back' again after the liberation struggle? 196
Theoretical blind-alleys 199
7. Towards a Feminist Perspective of a New Society 205
The case for a middle-class feminist movement 205
Basic Principles and Concepts 209
Towards a feminist concept of labour 216
An alternative economy 219
Intermediate steps 224
Autonomy over consumption 225
Autonomy over production 228
Struggles for human dignity 229
Bibliography 236
Index 247
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