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Entangled Subsistence Labor

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Chapter Summary

The movement known as the Bielefeld School" existed from the 1970s until the early 1990s, but it focused on the question of subsistence labor only during the first half of this period. The School became known for its distinctive working style. The core concept of subsistence labor was of interest to the Bielefelders not only for analytical reasons but also as a rudimentary version of a possible alternative to capitalism. The different combinations of subsistence labor and commodity production are infinite. Subsistence production is a labor process like any other. Producing food and habitats requires resources, especially land, but also seeds, livestock and the like. The feminist wing of the Bielefeld School highlighted the gendered nature of the relationship between subsistence sector and market sector. The insights of the Bielefeld School are helpful in constructing an analytical context for a global historiography of labor relationships.

Keywords: Bielefeld School; capitalism; commodity production; entangled subsistence labor; global labor history



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