Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Feminist Reflections on the Scope of Labour Law: Domestic Work, Social Reproduction, and Jurisdiction

Document type Article
Author Fudge, Judy
Journal Feminist Legal Studies
Volume 22
Date 2014-04-01
ISSN 1572-8455
Pages 1-23


Drawing on feminist labour law and political economy literature, I argue that it is crucial to interrogate the personal and territorial scope of labour. After discussing the “commodification” of care, global care chains, and body work, I claim that the territorial scope of labour law must be expanded beyond that nation state to include transnational processes. I use the idea of social reproduction both to illustrate and to examine some of the recurring regulatory dilemmas that plague labour markets. I argue that unpaid care and domestic work performed in the household, typically by women, troubles the personal scope of labour law. I use the example of this specific type of personal service relation to illustrate my claim that the jurisdiction of labour law is historical and contingent, rather than conceptual and universal. I conclude by identifying some of the implications of redrawing the territorial and personal scope of labour law in light of feminist understandings of social reproduction.