"Caliban, social reproduction and our future yet to come" in Geoforum 118 (4), 150-158
What can historical and contemporary labour geographies from the Caribbean tell us about social reproduction in a world of automation, precarity and free market fundamentalism? I argue in this article that juxtaposing 18th–19th century Caribbean labour geographies, with the free-market fundamentalisms, labour eradicating technologies and environmental disasters that define 21st century labour struggles, offers ways of thinking about how lives are made within capitalist systems, that overcome the traditional separation of the productive and reproductive work required to do so. Juxtaposing the social infrastructures that emerged from the practices of early unfree workers in the Caribbean with those produced by low income communities today, I trace continuities in the ways that people in situations of extreme precarity engage with space in order to exercise control over their labour. This article offers a number of provocations that aim to unsettle the theoretical separation of social reproduction from economic production, introduce insights into labour geographies beyond the worlds of formal organized labour and the formal economy itself, and to situate the Caribbean as a space of theory making that offers lessons for futures yet to come.
Beverley Mullings is a professor and Associate Undergraduate Program Head in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University. Her research focuses on feminist political economy, social transformation, labour, neoliberalism, and intersectionality in the Caribbean and the diaspora.
Other publications from this author include:
- "COVID-19's Cracks, Climate Crisis, and Academia's Role in Bringing about an Ontological Shift" Professional Geographer (2021). (2021)
- "Garrison Communities" in Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50, 141-145 (2019)
- "Reflections on mentoring as decolonial, transnational, feminist praxis" in Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 25 (2), 1-18 (2019)
- "Cultivating an ethic of wellness in geography" in Canadian Geographer (2016)
- "Globalization and the territorializaton of the new Caribbean service economy" in Journal of Economic Geography 4 (3), 275-298. (2004)
- "Insider or outsider, both or neither: some dilemmas of interviewing in a cross-cultural setting" in Geoforum 30 (4), 337-350 (1999)