9 Mar 2011 5:00pm - 6:30pm Room 3, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 8 Mill Lane, Cambridge


Humanitas Visiting Professor in Women's Rights 2011

The Humanitas Chair in Women's Rights has been made possible by the generous support of Mrs Carol Saper



Professor Nancy Fraser (Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics, The New School for Social Research, New York)


Lecture 2: The Wages of Care: Reproductive Labour as Fictitious Commodity






In her lecture series, Professor Nancy Fraser will create a Polanyian-feminist framework for theorising capitalist crisis in the 21st century. Following her first lecture on ‘The Great Transformation’, Professor Nancy Fraser will in her second lecture reconstruct the idea of “the fictitious commodity” in a form that can be used to analyse burgeoning markets in reproductive labour. Polanyi’s concept of the fictitious commodity traced the roots of crisis to what he called the “fictitious commodification” of labour, land and money and diagnosed the tendency of a “free market society” to undermine the shared understandings that underpin social life. Despite its relevance, this concept fails to appreciate that the commodification of one portion of social labour, often called “productive,” necessarily rests on the non-commodification of another portion, often called “reproductive.” Therefore, “the fictitious commodity” is not adequate in its classical form for a feminist theory of capitalist crisis but needs to be reconstructed for present-day theorising.

Further lectures in the series are: 

 A symposium will take place on Thursday 17 March.

The lectures are free and open to all. Registration is required for the symposium.


About Professor Nancy Fraser

Professor Nancy Fraser is Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics, The New School for Social Research, New York. Her research interests lie in social and political theory, feminist theory, 19th and 20th century European thought and philosophy of social science. From 2008-2010 she was Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, École des hautes études en science sociales, Paris. 

About the Professorships

Humanitas is a series of Visiting Professorships at Oxford and Cambridge intended to bring leading practitioners and scholars to both universities to address major themes in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Created by Lord Weidenfeld, the Programme is managed and funded by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue with the support of a series of generous benefactors, and administered in Cambridge by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). Humanitas Visiting Professors are held by distinguished academics and leading practitioners who have contributed to interdisciplinary research and innovation in a broad range of contemporary disciplines in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Covering areas of urgent or enduring interest in today's society as well as the performing arts, Humanitas Visiting Professors will present their pioneering work through a series of lectures or performances open to University audiences and the wider public.



Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk