Crisis, Labour, and the Contemporary

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Abstract

This chapter considers the difficulty that economics has found in defining labour as a practice separate from its product. Looking first at Classical and Marxist economics, it uses feminist economics to highlight the omissions that conventional definitions of labour contain, especially concerning the work of women. By comparing feminist economics with recent novels by women, including Halle Butler’s The New Me, Alice Furse’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Heike Geissler’s Seasonal Associate, Hilary Leichter’s Temporary and Ling Ma’s Severance, it argues that contemporary fiction has been attentive to the same omissions. Through a reading of the techniques of literary fiction, including realism and a range of experimental narrative devices, this essay proposes that the contemporary novel offers kinds of writing that expand our conception of labour. Contemporary fiction contains narratives that highlight the work of social reproduction as central component of the economies of labour and that offer a wider critique of economic categories of value.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Literature and Economics
EditorsPaul Crosthwaite, Peter Knight, Nicky Marsh
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Chapter13
Pages212-226
ISBN (Electronic)9781009026550
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameCambridge Companion to Literature
PublisherCambridge University Press

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