Abject Labours, Informal Markets: Revisiting the Law's (Re)Production Boundary

Feminists@Law, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2014

19 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2017

See all articles by Prabha Kotiswaran

Prabha Kotiswaran

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: March 22, 2014


Feminist legal scholarship has for long richly contributed to the project of gendering labour law. In this article, I consider the efforts of both feminists and women workers alike to have abject forms of labour recognized as valuable labour and as legitimate work. I consider women in three sectors, namely, sex work, exotic dancing and commercial surrogacy and pursue two lines of inquiry. The first line of inquiry is to articulate why the work of these women ought to be recognized as legitimate work. In other words, I build on feminist efforts in the context of social reproduction to redraw what they call the production boundary to in turn critique feminists’ own reluctance to include within this production boundary the reproductive labour of women like sex workers, dancers and surrogates. In effect, I ask what it means to redraw what I call the 'reproduction boundary'. My second line of inquiry assesses the implications of this recognition of reproductive labour for labour law. How has labour law acknowledged the labours of these women in the past? Is it possible for labour law to accommodate the demands of these women workers and if so in what ways can it do so and what are the strengths and drawbacks of a labour law model in this context?

Suggested Citation

Kotiswaran, Prabha, Abject Labours, Informal Markets: Revisiting the Law's (Re)Production Boundary (March 22, 2014). Feminists@Law, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2939247 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2939247

Prabha Kotiswaran (Contact Author)

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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