Women's Work in the Pandemic Economy
The Unbearable Hazard of Hierarchy
Relating two unique ethnographic studies of women’s economic behaviour during Australia’s COVID-19 crisis, Women’s Work in the Pandemic Economy tells a tale of two economies. The first relates to female workers staffing the ‘care frontline’ of the pandemic and the second, details women’s unpaid labour in ‘hyperlocal digital sharing networks’ across the same period.
In the pandemic ‘businesses of care’ we see extreme workload pressures and deteriorating work conditions drive a high incidence of workplace bullying, with a shockingly high prevalence of women bullying other women: something the author argues is inevitable in an advanced neoliberal market economy which routinely devalues women’s work.
By contrast, in the micro ‘gift economies’ of online neighbourhood groups, we instead see women more typically engaging in ‘care-full’ practices – ‘economic behaviours’ – of gift giving, collective provisioning, and ‘hivemind’ problem solving, which takes place in convivial collaboration and without expectation of reward or recognition.
Utilising degrowth, gift economy, and decolonial feminist theories, the book makes a strong argument that the gifting behaviours of women workers during COVID are not only subversive, but potentially offer humanity a blueprint for moving beyond the destructive hierarchies of modern capitalism towards a degrowth future.
This book will be of interest to scholars in gender studies, sociology, and economics, particularly those interested in care work, the gift economy, and women’s labour.
“In this complex and thoughtful ethnography author Myfan Jordan has created a fascinating and engaging text. She is one of the first authors to use the concept of the post-capitalist ‘gift economy’ to frame an ethnography of everyday life. This is a unique take on these issues and should be of interest to anyone looking at post-capitalist imaginaries.”
Terrence Leahy, University of Newcastle, Humanities and Social Sciences, Australia.
Signed copies are available for $75 (postage inc) by contacting Myfan via email@example.com