My goal in this forum essay is to brush the dust off Claude Meillassoux’s
(1981) magnum opus, Maidens, Meal and Money, by demonstrating its relevance
for the present day. While Meillassoux wrote primarily about precapitalist agricultural
communities, he had sketched on their basis a model of social reproduction
that incorporates social investments and powers, and he foregrounded the hierarchical
and exploitative reproductive orders by which capitalism sustains accumulation.
In the context of a renewed interest by feminist scholars in questions of
social reproduction, I argue that the analytical tools developed by Meillassoux are
at least as helpful in making sense of the age of financialization.
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